Sexism enrages ANCYL

I normally do not respond to petty attacks because I was told that if I kneel down and bark back at a barking dog, people will not know the difference.

Yet I felt the need to respond to Redi Direko's insulting column about the essence of gender struggles and what she perceives as sexism from the ANC Youth League.

Under apartheid, racism, sexism and exploitation were institutionalised and African women suffered triple oppression because their labour was exploited for capitalist gains. This was further intensified through prevention of certain functions at leadership level.

The ANC's strategic objective is underpinned by the need to resolve gender contradictions and female exclusion - the foundation of apartheid oppression and exploitation.

The youth league's gender struggles are therefore located within the broader programme to economically and socially emancipate the black majority - and Africans in particular.

This should include representation of women in decision-making structures, not as tokens, but because they are capable. Our political and ideological guidance is underpinned by these principles.

This explains our impatience with anyone who regressively undermines this principle. Anyone who embodies apartheid value systems enrageS us, hence our vitriolic description of Helen Zille.

During the Talk Radio 702 interview, Direko failed to make me say that Zille is having sex with her men-only executive council, and typical of her angry self, labelled me mindless. I refused to say that because we are aware that it plays into a wrong perception parroted by reactionary feminists who blindly defend females, even the most regressive leaders like Zille.

Not once did Direko acknowledge that what Zille said about the republic's president is devious and undermines African culture and traditions. She instead emphasised that Zille was just irrelevant in the failed attempt to justify the racist and sexist decision she took on her cabinet.

We will always fight any value and manifestation that represents sexism.

Nyiko Floyd Shivambu, ANCYL National spokesperson