By Mzwandile Mrabe
On the 08th March 2019 the world celebrated the International Women’s Day under the theme “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” This year’s main aim is to put innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality. As always, this celebration which is supported by the United Nations makes a clarion call upon all men to stand up and be counted amongst men who denounce, with the greatest contempt they deserve, all forms of abuse against women.
No man has the inherent right to abuse any woman no matter what. That is against our principle of Ubuntu and what Africa at large stands for. These women that are been abused are the very same women who, during the times of apartheid, came together from all corners of the land divided by colonial boundaries and by ethnical, linguistic, cultural, economical and political differences to fight oppression in ensuring that all South Africans, including men, get equality, justice, and freedom.
These are the same women who marched to Pretoria in 1956 to protest against the apartheid Pass Laws when men were taking the back sit and that is why it is not an accident that women began the 1917 Russian Revolution on the 08th March. However, it seems that there are men out there who still want to bring back the draconian apartheid patriarchal laws which put men superior and as a master to women.
I have seen with my naked eye barbaric acts against women that make me to realize that still modern women are not really free from such barbaric realities even though some of them are self-independent in all material respect. When I look at my thirteen year old daughter I start to have stomach cramps imagining how life will treat her when she graduates into womanhood.
This is a clear sign that the struggle for women’s complete social emancipation is far from over as long as we have a class society where men see themselves as beasts that go around raping and murdering women. This is also a vivid indication that women are still held in subjugation by some men who tends to forget that women are human-beings too.
Yes, there is reality that hunger, unemployment and the need to earn money to survive force women to depend on their partners and accept that whatever men do to them is only correct and perfect. It is the man’s inherent social responsibility to provide shelter, protection, and food for his family and how I wish that all men comprehend that as men we have an obligation to ensure that women live in a safe and healthy environment.
We are aware that the worse features of acts of abuse reflect the most cruel and brutal form of cowardice. Instead of treating women like objects, we should assist women in their challenges of high rate of unemployment, teenage pregnancy due to peer pressure, lack of education, access to basic needs, HIV & AIDS due to lack of education, young women taking care of household at the young age, high escalation of poverty resulting in young women opting to sell their bodies to support their families.
The abuse of women has been a key question for us real men hence the challenge thrown to men to love, protect, and care for women. My intention is not to set women against men but an attempt to forge African principled solidarity and love between men and women in a common struggle for a better life for all women.
We must never forget that these cowardice and senseless tendencies of abusing, raping, and murdering women do not simply fall from the skies but they reflect and arise out of the material interests of some men to want to own whatever is around them. Unless these tendencies are firmly rebuffed they are likely to make an impact on our young children and make them to hate their supposedly protector: men.
When articulated against the complexities motioned above, the challenge is to ensure that the message remains clear, simple and forceful and that it resonates well with all men regardless of their social standing or economic status. It is further upon this background I urge that the social freedom where women can feel safe can only be realized in a society where men acknowledge the fact that men are meant to be protectors and not murders, rapists and abusers of women.
I therefore edge all responsible men out there to respond to any call aimed at assisting women in dealing with such alien situations and to ensure that men do what they are supposed to do: protecting the vulnerables. Cause for in Africa, women are held in high esteem!