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25 May

South Africa and the Future of the African Woman

By: Lebogang Morethe

Kgwediyabasadi” (meaning women’s month in Sepedi) the famous words that get most men rolling their eyes in irritation. Most of them angry that instead of women being in the kitchen they will be all over town attending conference after conference if not seminar after seminar. I noticed that only the empowered men welcomed women’s month with smiles and gratitude. The contradiction of emotions said a lot about the type of women each man attracted. I can list but a few women who empower and challenge me as a female in Africa. Basetsana khumalo,  Phumzille Mlambo Nqucka, Michelle Obama and Foloronsho Alakija but to mention a few.

Writing and pronouncing their names sends electronic signals of excitement down my spine. I decided to go around town to interview two woman on the topic woman’s month, what it means to them and being a woman in the democracy of South Africa. Magdalene Marishane is the first woman I interviewed, who works as a personal assistant at a surgical office in town. Her delicate dress code of excellency revealed a lot about her character, having styled her close to worn out braids to bring about a lift on her worked on face. She expressed how being a woman in South Africa is the greatest gift to her, she runs a catering company on weekends outside office work. She emphasised how being a woman and the BEE system works in her advantage.

“I am a mother of two and because of my line of work, I hardly spend time with my kids. We live in a country whereby women are no more only confined to the house but we are corporate women who are still wives at the same time”, said Magdalene.

She continues to express how her loving husband is fascinated by her achievements. To her it makes no sense for women to complain of freedom when the liberation war that opened up so many opportunities for women in South Africa has been won already. Reabetswe Mashego was my second interviewee in the streets of Seshego. Her continued glance at her neighbour stirred some concern in me. Her irritation by the neighbour’s appearance gave away the spiteful heart she had towards her.

“She thinks she is a man this one, how can a woman raise four kids alone bathing! She sleeps with our men to support her kids!” proclaimed mma Rose Mashego. Out of curiosity I had to ask what occupation she was in. Surprised that the neighbour is a doctor I had to reserve my judgements. From the scene I picked up an uncomfortable attitude about Reabetswe Mashego towards her neighbours success, precisely another women’s success. Chances are, Reabetswe is in an unhappy marriage and discriminates every woman who represents what she secretly desires but fears to admit. Can one then say woman’s month is truly transforming women and emphasizing on the importance and value of women in general?

To some, men are the new women. Does one discriminate them? The gay world is overtaking the feminine department that their voice is shouting louder than the original born females. Every day is woman’s day, one would say. I personally think we don’t need a calendar to depict how important women are, walk like it is and talk it and act it!

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