The 6th of August 2016 saw numerous South Africans take to Twitter to express their outrage on the treatment of 4 young women involved in a silent protest. These women were pushed and shoved by presidential bodyguards after the President’s speech at the announcement of the 2016 South African Municipal Election Results gathering. For those that are unaware, search the #RememberKhwezi hashtag on Twitter and follow some of the news sites to get details and watch some of the clips making the rounds on social media.
I would like to address the ANCWL and my disappointment in them as a constitutional structure to uphold women’s issues, rights and laws pertaining to equality. My disappointment is especially with the statement made by ANCWL President, Bathabile Dlamini, in failing to stand up for women in the name of ‘protecting the president’. I find it very disheartening that protocol is more of a priority than an ongoing critical issue in South Africa.
Perhaps Bathabile and the rest of the ANCWL have forgotten what the ‘W’ in ANCWL stands for. I’m no politician but here is a personal breakdown to remind them of what the ‘W’ stands for:
W stands for…
Women: Yes, all the women during the Apartheid era that stood up to the Apartheid regime in passive resistance and fought against issues that oppressed women.
Women: The 4 young women that silently protested against the rape case that happened 10 years ago against Jacob Zuma involving Khwezi. You backed JZ then and you STILL back JZ now. Yes, the case happened 10 years ago but the struggle and issue of rape is still current today but you fail to see the significance or importance thereof. You have no sensitivity for the issue or the victims.
Women: All the women who witnessed Khwezi’s case unravelling in the media and the rape victims who then chose to keep silent for fear of being seen as the issue instead of rapists being seen as the issue.
Women: Being told that protest actions of the 4 young women at the IEC Election Results announcement showed ‘disrespect’ to the president. Yet again, your comment shows your active involvement in the backward thinking of ‘Women should be seen and not heard’ despite the silent protest that spoke volumes.
Women: For us young women who know that it is up to us to ensure that we protect ourselves because we do not have the luxury of knowing that we can count on a protective structure that was created to protect us but deems the president to be worthy of your protection over us.
Women: Women issues ARE politics and due to the nature of politics, politics are not convenient. To demand an apology for the president is in itself inappropriate.
My question remains: When is it appropriate and convenient for women to protest against issues that affect them?