We can build hope on the strength of our women
EVEN in the face of the runaway cruelty that society relentlessly unleashes on women and children defiling motherhood and trampling to dust the innocence of childhood ravaged by the heartlessness of men on a murder and rape spree there is still reason to develop hope that some day sanity will prevail to put the marauding madness behind us.
The reason for hope lies with the Women s Month of August. South Africa has singled out the ninth as the day on which all that is virtuous in women, and representative of this nation s deepest respect for motherhood, be held in high esteem. This day is meant to inject into national consciousness the crowning courage and power that 20 000 women showed on August 9 1956, the day they marched on the Union Buildings against the discriminatory pass laws.
By then oppressive laws had cut deep into the souls of black folks to shape living conditions that compliant black men had sadly succumbed to. Steve Biko’s description of their conformity was unsparingly frank: All in all the black man has become a shell, a shadow of a man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bear- ing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity.”
Buoyed by the winning formula of its dehumanising impact on black men, the oppressive state decided to visit the same wicked plans upon women. The women were no ready material to respond with expected timidity.
Their response was unmistakably defiant: Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.” The song they sang was the defining moment of their courage. They did so with some of them having their children on their backs. Such courage and strength had not been seen before.
Those were women of substance who did not look over their shoulders to seek approval from men on whether to take a stand.
Even then, they were of the calibre that loved their husbands, defended their children and fought for freedom.
There are no greater givers of life than women fighters set to give birth to freedom. That is what mothers are for. Women courage deserves the tribute granting them August 9 as their day.
Our flicker of hope, in these trying times, lies with women to rekindle a national sense of hope as the givers of life and defenders of children as precious recipients of this gift of life.