I see all men in this country as a real threat
When a South African man walks down the street, he pictures every single foreign man as a real threat who has stealthily sneaked out from under his bed to terrorise and give him sleepless nights.
As a woman living in this country, I see all men in this country as a real threat. Regardless of race, nationality or class, all men in this country scare me.
A CEO, a cashier, a hawker; you sir reading this, are my real threat. Except you are not a monster in a faraway dream - you are real.
On Saturday, a male friend of mine sent me a viral voice note where a man who is believed to be a foreigner said that South African women are "cheap" and "dirty". My friend told me that it is opinions such as this that may cause our countrymen to think that all foreigners are here to ruin our country.
“I don’t know what you think you are…you take advantage of foreigners living in South Africa, saying we would like to chase you out, you better leave our country and go back where you come from because you are taking our ladies and taking our jobs,” he said.
“Which ladies are you guys talking about? Those dirty girls on the streets? Who can spend two weeks, three weeks without even bathing their bodies?...what do we do with them? They are prostitutes, they are bitches…we give them money and do whatever we do with them.”
Every time xenophobic violence flares up, this misogynistic voice note that is years old comes up again as a point of reference by South African men to attack foreigners. The rage that this voice rears in our brothers' minds is only specifically aimed at foreign men because, how dare their property be touched by others?
The disgust the unknown man in the voice note has about women is the same disgust that women have to deal with from all men in this country, whether Nigerian, South African or Zimbabwean - the sickness of misogyny knows no nationality.
Uyinene Mwretyana, Karabo Mokoena and Palesa Madiba were not brutalised by foreign men. They were killed by men who were born in this country. Men who are today claiming that they are kicking foreigners out to protect us. When I am alone in a taxi, I am afraid. When I walk down the street and see a group of men coming towards me, I am afraid.
Now when I go to inquire about a package at the post office I will be afraid. I am not afraid because this person may be of a different nationality. I am afraid because this person is a man. Not all men? Well, to me it is all men until proven otherwise.
- For in-depth coverage on this topic catch a copy of Sowetan newspaper on Wednesday.