From the edi­tor’s desk

Public Sector Manager - - EDITOR'S NOTE - Des Latham Head of Ed­i­to­rial and Pro­duc­tion

This is Au­gust 2018, the win­ter winds are blow­ing and rain has fallen softly over parts of Gaut­eng. Cape Town is wet­ter than it has been for three years, while in Nel­son Man­dela Bay, dams are dry. It seems mother earth is call­ing out and we are not lis­ten­ing in more ways than one.

This month is dom­i­nated by the ac­tions of women in South Africa who de­mand to be heard, and the time for ig­nor­ing these calls is long past. Some men be­lieve it's their in­alien­able right to dom­i­nate women us­ing phys­i­cal vi­o­lence and, in highly con­ser­va­tive so­ci­eties, this is ex­cused by the phrase “cul­ture”. The anger this is caus­ing is ac­cel­er­at­ing in our modern, con­nected and rapidly ur­ban­is­ing so­ci­ety.

“It’s my cul­ture to tell women they be­long bare­foot and preg­nant in the kitchen,” some men would say.

“It’s my cul­ture to force women to do all the chores around our house, they need a slap every now and again to keep them in line, af­ter all, that’s what our tra­di­tions say, isn’t it?”

These views be­long in the Stone Age.

It is not cul­ture to abuse women, it's crim­i­nal.There is a sys­tem­atic prin­ci­ple of abuse, hid­den be­neath the ve­neer of cul­tural cor­rect­ness where neigh­bours say noth­ing when they hear the screams, pre­fer­ring to stay out of other peo­ple’s “busi­ness”.

Our Con­sti­tu­tion is very spe­cific about this, and some peo­ple liv­ing in our coun­try be­lieve they do not have to con­form to this Con­sti­tu­tion. Our women made a choice in 1956 to stand up to the apartheid sys­tem, and thereby, to all abusers. Women co-wrote this Con­sti­tu­tion and women are em­pow­ered by their free­dom.

The sen­ti­ment ex­pressed by our free women is just that. To be free to do what they want and say what they want, and be what they want.

Why should men tell women what to do with their bod­ies? What right do men and de­lib­er­ately ob­tuse conservatives have to de­mand that some­one else con­forms to their blink­ered world view? It ap­pears that the lessons we have been taught by our women who marched over half a cen­tury ago are be­ing ig­nored by those who have the most to lose.

These men are steeped in the logic of op­pres­sion, yet would say they were merely fol­low­ing the highly sus­pect “tra­di­tions” of some ro­man­tic il­lu­sion they call cul­tural pas­times. When called out, these de­fend­ers of tra­di­tion adopt a “we are ex­perts be­cause we know our peo­ple” po­si­tion.

Noth­ing is more sus­pi­cious than a man who pre­sumes to speak on be­half of an en­tire pop­u­la­tion. We can tip­toe around these anachro­nis­tic folks, or we can choose to con­front them now, be­fore they do more dam­age to our next gen­er­a­tion. We are trans­par­ent in our need to em­power women, and yet some of these tra­di­tion­al­ists are less than trans­par­ent about their mo­tives.

There is much money to be made hawk­ing women as chat­tel in­stead of think­ing of women as equal part­ners.Women in so­ci­ety are not a com­mod­ity, they are not a roll of cop­per ca­ble or a cou­ple of cows; they are 50 per­cent of our econ­omy, 50 per­cent of our re­li­gion, 50 per­cent of our fu­tures and full part­ners in our won­der­ful coun­try.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.