South Africa – a nation with a culture of reaction

2019-09-16 15:23
“This is a very dark period for us as a country. The assault, rape and murder of South African women is a stain on our national conscience.”

“This is a very dark period for us as a country. The assault, rape and murder of South African women is a stain on our national conscience.”

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In the past couple of years South Africa has been going through the worst kind of femicide. In the past weeks South African celebrities, politicians, colleagues, and friends have been calling on the President of South Africa – Mr Cyril Ramaposa to officially address the nation about xenophobia, looting, and femicide. I wonder what is it that is different and new South Africans expect to hear if or when the President addresses the recent events. Perhaps I have a different perception and views about what is going in South Africa right now. However, for the purpose of this article, I will only focus on the recent femicide cases. By the way, where is the ANC Women’s League? Now that is a group of people whom I thought would be up in arms trying to address the recent femicide. Right?

Wrong, why because, WE as South Africans have a culture of reaction. What do I mean by this, you ask? I mean in South Africa we do not have preventative measures in place to prevent, gender-based violence, rape and many other forms of violence, instead when we happen to have one publicized case of sexual assault or brutal killings, we react with so much noise, calls to be addressed by the president, hashtags and so and so forth. But we do not follow up with these hashtags and calls after the story has blown over. In fact, we go on without lives as if nothing happened. We go back to following our favorite celebrities and their lives and forget about Karabo Mokoena, until Uyinene Mrwetyana disappeared. Why do we allow our hashtags movements and calls to fight against gender-based violence die until we are again faced with a public case of brutal murder or rape through the media?

Note, I use the word publicity, to emphasis the fact that, we only react with so much noise and hashtags, if it is a public case. How many women in South Africa are victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse from the hands of their partners, colleagues, strangers, and bosses? Perhaps xenophobic attaches occur once or twice in a year. But how many unreported cases of women who suffer and die at the hands of their partners, boyfriends, family members, and stranger. Just because we and our celebrities stop tweeting and posting #AMINEXT slogs, does not mean violence stops. If WE, including our celebrities were honest to the course of fighting gender-based violence, then we should fight gender-based violence throughout the 12 months of the year and every day of the year.

South Africa men should not only learn to fight for their women, but they should also fight with women against femicide. Most importantly, men should call out their fellow species when they are behaving inappropriately, disrespectful and inconsiderate. My experience and observations as a young woman living in South Africa, such inappropriate behaviour is groomed and tolerated by both men and women in our societies. We do not call out inappropriate behaviours, instead, we let them sink in and they find a nice warm spot to grow like a mole. Only after someone (men) acts on their inappropriate behave of harassment, assault, rape, and murder, only then we react publicly.

WE do not need any more slogans, hashtags, calls to the president and reactions, we need action. We need South African men to take charge, stop and fight against raping and killing of women. They need to be involved in the dialogues and conversations. They need to understand that there are fathers of the nation, they have daughters who expect them to protect them and they have sons who look up to them. They should understand that women are not items or belongings which they are entitled too. They should take it upon themselves to treasure and protect.

Gugu Ndlazi

Master of Arts: Philosophy Graduate

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