Let me start by saying hard times are over, since January is no more and we are in February, the month of love.
In this article I want to challenge those men who are hell-bent on abusing, maiming and performing atrocities against women and children with their dastardly acts. A day hardly passes on without one reading, listening and watching stories of women abuse by men who are supposed to protect women in the world. It was with a heavy heart that in late January that I and other people read a story of a man who raped and killed Girley Maphumulo, a 107 year old grandmother in Pietermaritzburg.
I wondered what got into the mind of the man who killed that beautiful grandmother who probably still had a lot to offer to young people as we know that old people have so much wisdom. No one has the right to beat, disfigure or kill another person in this world. Our constitution provides right to life in the bill of rights as enshrined in the constitution which was passed in 1996. Therefore, anyone who violates such clause or section of the constitution should be arrested, prosecuted and sent to prison for a longtime after being found guilty.
I’m aware that many victims of abuse are not happy when a perpetrator is released on bail, saying that the courts seem to give more rights to the perpetrator instead of languishing in jail as expected. Law is a funny animal because it gives rights to everyone; even the alleged criminals are protected by the law. There is a saying that ‘one is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court’. This means that even when a person has caught the perpetrator in the commission of an unlawful act, that perpetrator would be treated as innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.
The law says that we should not take law into our hands because there are institutions such as the police service that are responsible for protecting the rights of human beings, property and have the right to search and arrest. So this means that we, ordinary people should report any criminal activity that we witness or have heard about.
Law abiding citizens should not take the law into their own hands. This means that in biblical terms we got to give another ‘cheek’ when one is slapped but it is not that simple when you have been wronged. We got to behave in civilized fashion even in difficult times because ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’.
Many unknown and well known men have committed heinous acts of brutality against women and our courts have continuously outdone themselves by convicting such shameful men. The Judiciary has done a sterling job in convicting high profile personalities like Oscar Pistorius, Mduduzi Manana, Shrien Dewani, Sipho ‘Brickz’ Ndlovu and many other less known personalities.
Some well known personalities such as Tumisho Masha, Marks Maponyane, Bonginkosi ‘Zola Dlamini, Dj Euphonik and Arthur Mafokate have been accused of physically abusing their loved ones. This shows that no one is immune to abuse, that is why movements such as #Notinmyname and #Metoo have been launched to challenge men to stop abusing their counterparts. Even the Bible says both men and women are equals; there is no one who is superior to another. Women deserve to be loved and respected like everyone on this mother earth.
Women all over the world have given birth to every living man in the world and this means that men are duty bound to respect, care and love women in each and every days of their lives. It must be ingrained in the man’s mind that every woman is your mother, sister, daughter and lover. If you can have this philosophy in your life, the world will be a better place.
Without a shred of a doubt, loving and respecting women would not make any man less of a man.
Internationally well known artists have been found on the wrong side of the law by assaulting and sexually abusing their partners or women close to them in the work environment. O.J Simpson, the famous American footballer was alleged to have murdered his wife but unfortunately the court could not find him guilty because prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. The likes of Bobby Brown, Mike Tyson, Chris Brown, Ike Turner, Harvey Weinstein, Ozzy Osbourne, Sean Penn, Dennis Rodman, Mel Gibson and Bill Cosby just to name a few, had been accused of abusing their partners.
It was so embarrassing to hear such gory stories about men that we held in high regard because of their social status in the world.
Most of these famous men that most young people look up to had somehow claimed to be under the influence of alcohol or some mind altering substance that cause them to commit such bad deeds. No matter how high or drunk a man is, you should not lay you hand on another person.
Surprisingly or courageously some of the women like Oprah Winfrey, Cici, Halle Berry, Madonna, Charlize Theron and Rihanna, to name a few have bounced back to achieve a lot of fame and fortune despite the sufferings they went through. Who could forget Mama Winnie Mandela, the mother of the nation who suffered unimaginable ordeal in the hands of apartheid security forces who failed to break her soul?
Winnie Madikizela Mandela was put in solitary confinement for 491 days but she came out stronger yet it was not necessary at all. Women are leaders, comforters and great teachers. In most locations, villages and suburbs in the country many single mothers raise children. These women raise children who have the potential to change the world and could you imagine if the women were supported and shown more love?
Absolutely women deserve to be respected and loved by the whole society. Nothing can never justify any abuse of women under the sun. We can all live in peace and harmony with each other.
The world is a funny place because even some presidents of the first worlds such as USA have leaders in the mould of Donald Trump who utter the most horrendous words through his mouth. Trump knows no boundary in behaving unpresidential, he has recently called Haiti and African countries ‘Sh*tholes’. We thought that he would have stopped by now after he infamously saying that he enjoyed grabbing women by the p*ssy and that if he could be intimate with his daughter if she was not his child.
Really Trump is a special case, how could such an educated, successful and the most ambitious man say such wrong things and feels ok after that.
Locally even president Jacob Zuma before he ascended to power, he had troubles facing a rape charge in the court for allegedly raping the late Khwezi in 2005 ‘because she was wearing a khanga’ and therefore she had invited him. Some leaders instead of condemning the accusations they beat around the bush and one Julius Malema claimed that Kwezi had enjoyed the ordeal because she even asked for money for transport. Unfortunately Zuma was let off the hook by the court as he was acquitted of the crime, paving the way for his presidential ambitions.
African National Congress women’s league stood by Zuma accusing the poor woman of being used by those who did not want Zuma to be the president. Thanks to four courageous women who reminded the world in 2016 during the announcement of the election results that we should all ‘Remember Khwezi’ when Zuma was delivering a speech. The women where chucked out of the building but their message was amplified more and the world took notice of the brave actions.
The three young ladies did send a strong message in a silent way throughout the world. Radio broadcaster and Author Redihentse Tlhabi recently penned a book about the life of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo and some women in the ANC complained about the book. The book eventually became a best seller and the proceeds of the book were channeled to the Khwezi family as a show of respect to the family.
Women like Redi Tlhabi are quiet inspirational and would not standby and do nothing when the oppressed are abused. She reminds me of strong women like Oprah Winfrey who has continuously tried to uplift women from poor backgrounds by sending them to school so that they could be better people.
Young women are putting a stop to such abusive behaviour by speaking out. Lesego Legobane better known to her followers on twitter as Thickleeyonce received overwhelming support after a young man tried to body shame her by posting a picture of a model and that of Thickleeyonce captioning it ‘the girl that want her versus the girls he dates’.
Lesego gracefully put the man in his place and the world came in support of her and she even got interviews on international media such as CNN. Lupita Nyongo also stood her ground by reminding an international magazine who really she was by telling them that her image had been highly enhanced to fit a certain narrative.
These women teach us that you must first love yourself before you can love another person, so this is a challenge to men to love themselves and love others. Let there be love this year to all.
Sello E Morake is a freelance Journalist, based in Diepkloof in Soweto, Johannesburg. He has been a Journalist for more than 10 years writing for Newspapers such as the now defunct Free State Times, Daily Sun and Dumelang News in various capacities as a Senior reporter and Sub – editor