Woman, dry your eyes, you are a masterpiece

Balloons with an image of 28-year-old Tshegofatso Pule float in the air at her funeral. Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was found stabbed and hanging from a tree two weeks ago. The writer say women have seen it all, from abuse to discrimination, yet stood tall.
Balloons with an image of 28-year-old Tshegofatso Pule float in the air at her funeral. Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was found stabbed and hanging from a tree two weeks ago. The writer say women have seen it all, from abuse to discrimination, yet stood tall.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Mbokodo, as we celebrate your month this August, let the whole world know that you are no punching bag. Your eyes are not a river, why should tears flow from them?

For ages you have carried your families on your ailing backs with little to no complaints. Not because you were strong, but because you have always been their only hope. I know you lose sleep over where to get the next meal to feed your children.

You have endured all the harsh words from people whose help you have sought, yet you maintained your dignity. I know you have subjected yourself to menial and lousy jobs, just to put food on the table. Often you smile to hide the inner pain, just to instil hope and to inspire confidence in the minds of your little ones.

I know you often show teeth when called “girl” by those who give you part-time jobs, just to sustain your dependents. You work 24/7 for your families without getting paid. I know you also lose your appetite because your loved ones are unwell.

You have seen it all, from abuse to discrimination, yet stood tall for everyone’s rise to stardom. I know you are mostly forgotten by your own children, who label you a ‘witch’ when they realise they can now stand on their feet.

I know your heart has been broken countless times by heartless men who suddenly realised you were not woman enough for them. Heartless, despite you carrying their kids on your back, firewood on your head for their meals and warmth and buckets of water in your hands – all at the same time.

I know you want nothing from your children but to see them happy and prosperous. You are a masterpiece.

Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg eManyeleti

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