We celebrated August as women’s month in tribute to the sacrifices of generations of women who contributed towards the struggle for dignity, human rights and freedom. We also celebrated the many women from all walks of life who have and continue to make a difference in laying new foundations for our nascent democracy.
What a tragic women’s month it has turned out to be, as news broke almost on a daily basis of incidents of rape, violence and murder. What a shame that the trauma perpetrated by centuries of colonialism and decades of apartheid continues to be meted out against the most vulnerable of our society.
What have they done to deserve such ignominy? What did Uyinene Mrweryana, Jesse Hess, Leighandre’ Jegels, Janiks Mailo, Lynette Volschenk, Megan Cremer and Amy Lee de Jäger and countless others do to deserve suffering? Women live their lives daily worried, scared and asking themselves #Am I Next? Whilst the plea for an RDP of the soul has fallen on deaf ears.
Do the men who perpetrate such perversities not have mothers, sisters and daughters?
Colonialism bequeathed them the triple oppression of race, class and gender. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that 25 years into our democracy the levels of femicide would reach such an abominable and horrific level. It is heinous in the extreme and a gaping wound in our national psyche and pride.
This is a national crisis of mammoth proportions that requires a collective effort by all South Africans.
One act of femicide is one too many. What kind of society sits by helplessly while our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters fall victim to sick and psychopathic individuals tearing away at our social fabric. This madness must stop.
We call on all South Africans, individuals and communities, NGOs and CBOs, faith-based structures to not accept victimhood as the only response. We must respond constructively to this crisis of femicide and make South Africa a better and safer place for all.
We call on all men to rise and be counted. Together we say “Not In Our Name” and “Enough is Enough”.
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly.