‘Women bashers must be trembling’

Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo, uzawufa.

Indeed. But from where I’m sitting, the realisation has hit home that it will take more than sloganeering for sanity, peace and harmony to prevail in this odyssey.

Back in the day, many chose to turn a blind eye to these ills, even turning on their own offspring, mostly because the perpetrators of these evils were breadwinners, we see more and more women coming out to say enough is enough.

They are claiming their space as the pillars, caregivers, nurturers and flowers of the nation. The countrywide marches organised two weeks ago, under the banner #TotalShutdown are but a manifestation of this, more so because the menfolk were not allowed anywhere near any of the said marches.

Women bashers must be trembling in their trousers. Rapists’ hearts must be pounding.

Numbered are the days of those who do not think twice about laying a hand on a female, even at the slightest irritation.

Who’s to blame women for finally taking a stand as a collective, because there’s enough evidence to suggest that living in present-day South Africa as a woman must be a nightmarish existence.

According to a study conducted by the Gender & Health Unit of the Medical Research Council in 2016, one in every four women is physically abused by her partner.

If women, and by extension girl children, cannot feel safe in the presence of those who claim to hold them dear, how much more when they step out of the home space?

It’s an age-old tactic of the male species to satisfy the ego and justify wrongdoing by placing the blame on the woman.

If it’s not “women talking you into doing it because they know the law is always on their side”, then it’s “she was scantily dressed, so she invited it”.

Then there’s the deep-seated anger against women, which some harbour from a very young age, due to being neglected by their own mothers or other life circumstances.

Many serial killers and psychopaths fall foul of this line of thinking.

Such is one cockroach of a misogynist, a Toyota Avanza public transport driver who, during one trip, could not stop sharing with me his dislike for women, dropping this and that unprintable name for descriptive measure.

He further let me know that whenever he got into a relationship it was for the sheer pleasure of it, because to him “women are naturally all the same.” His is an existence of hopping from one woman to another, leaving behind a trail of broken hearts behind in his wake.

Needless to say, when I hopped off the ride, relief on my face was for all to see, not least because of the disbelief that such individuals are actually in our midst.

A time-bomb waiting to explode!

Perhaps it’s because these kinds of men are so pervasive that women can’t seem to tell a well-meaning chap from a devious one. My encounter with a particular woman two Sundays ago serves as an example.

I had been staggering home from the nearby watering hole, two dumpies under my armpit, and just as I was about to negotiate the corner of the street, appeared this lass who was visibly in great distress.

I could not immediately identify the source of her troubles, only that she kept screaming “Bhuti! Bhuti! Ndicela undincede torho,” the tears streaming down her cheeks.

Sobriety crept back into my veins. According to her version she was from some far-off area and was looking for directions to her friend’s place some distance away.

She was not sure of the exact address but mentioned the street name, and said she had just alighted from a police van.

I could only come to the conclusion that the cops must have been on a merry-go-round with her, and eventually decided to leave her to her own devices, because there really could not have been any other reason for them to dump her in the middle of nowhere.

I was still trying to figure out how to confront this dilemma at that late hour, having to walk into the lion’s den, the friend’s location, when another young woman walked past.

She did not think twice about stopping her and asking if she knew this particular street.

The girl answered in the affirmative and the two set off on their quest, but not before she uttered, “Enkosi, yhu, inoba lo bhuti ebezondi reyipha.” I guess one will never know if she ever made it safely, but those words have lingered in my mind to this day.