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Hotheads sully true women's protest

By unknown | Mar 06, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

To my centenarian grandfather Piet Fume, the surviving living ancestor on my mother's side, respect for women by the male species in his clan is non-negotiable.

To my centenarian grandfather Piet Fume, the surviving living ancestor on my mother's side, respect for women by the male species in his clan is non-negotiable.

Ntate moholo inculcated this virtue in me, us, since boyhood. "You must treat women with respect," he insists.

I wonder what he thought though when he saw television images of women in various forms of undress, flaunting their bodies unashamedly in the name of protest.

The "march" at Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg last Friday, sparked by the sexual assault of a young woman because she wore a miniskirt, was a disgrace.

The idea to protest against the taximen's violation of Nwabisa Ngcukana's human dignity was noble.

The organisers felt, rightly so, that men should not bask in the falsehood that they are superior and therefore can determine how women should dress.

All level-headed South Africans, many of us men, think the culprits are morons.

Their behaviour is symptomatic of psychopathic conduct, which, well into the 21st century, is frightening, hence the demonstration.

But what should we call those women who joined the march to embarrass not only themselves but also insult the dignity of those who were there for a cause?

Many of them were victims of rape, violence and emotional abuse.

The behaviour of the breast and thigh-baring ones left the intended targets - taxi drivers - bemused. They were not impressed and hurled more insults at the demonstrators.

The well-intentioned protest had thus failed to make a point, thanks to the rotten potatoes that spoiled the bag.

Because of them, it became a triple jeopardy for Ngcukana. Her dignity had been impaired by the taunts and molestation.

Her assailants, who she can identify, are still at large. So she cannot see justice being done soon.

Now a group of dunderheads masquerading as concerned sisters have made a mockery of the plight of Ngcukana and many other women in her shoes.

These are victims such as Nondumiso Ngcukayithobi, who laid charges against a marshal who smacked her behind.

On Tuesday Ngcukana, however, decided, in her own words, "to face my demons".

She joined a march on the taxi rank organised by radio talk show host Redi Direko.

Brave girl, Ngcukana is. And guess what? She wore a short dress to emphasise her freedom to choose what to wear and when. Brave girl.

Power to all the women who struggle one more day to face the demons of bigotry, abusers and violators of their human rights.

Surely, no sane and intelligent man can condone barbarism in the name of culture - that women are traditionally lesser human than men.

We are in Africa, are of Africa.

I will happily pipe down if anyone out there can produce proof that our ancestors allowed for the oppression of women.

Were African women flogged or humiliated for wearing traditional loin cloths or strings of beads?

Incidentally, men also wore loin cloths and I bet many of those at Noord Street taxi rank also did.

Ponder this message from Direko: "If you are abusing women, pause and consider that one day it could be your daughter, your mother or your wife."


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