Imbokodo in the 21st Century

rights women equality
Tuesday, 26 August, 2014 - 09:00

Women’s Month is a call for South Africa to work towards ending the struggles that women face in their daily lives 

Pioneers of yesteryear, present and future, these words are what best describe a woman in the twenty first century. While we simply call them ‘Imbokodo’, women who are capable of being home engineers, chief executive officers, the transport lady, the tutor and still find time to educate oneself, whether through an institution or the University of Life. Nonetheless, since the 9 August 1956, the word woman has upheld the notion that generations of doubters have suspected all throughout history. The strength of a woman has since existed centuries before and has never subsided, as though it is powered by solar even through hardships.
But in most recent years the outcry of the once muffled voice of your everyday woman is no longer submerged in the corridors of their thoughts or behind thatched and muddied houses or barb wired or electric fenced properties. Since the liberation of our beloved country the rights and thoughts of all have taken precedence.
But considering all facts and reports there is bound to be one area if not all where regardless of how immaculate the job is done because women are the dominant factor in that field or sport, it will not hold as much respect and recognition as the male counter parts.  In a recent sit down by Youth Fit Africa, coach Greg Green of Crusaders Ladies F.C had this to say about woman in soccer, “While South Africa has the SASOL women’s league; there is no professional women’s league in the country. Green explained that the SASOL women’s teams get around R20 000 - R30 000 a year towards logistics. This poses a challenge.
He went on to further state, “The lack of resources and structure means that talent is going unnoticed and undeveloped. “Because there is no structure and support, woman’s football has not been take seriously, even though our women are finishing second and third in Africa consistently and qualified for the Olympics,” “It’s a very sexist environment, but we have persevered to get to this point,” he said. While these descriptives are still very much the norm in terms of how women are perceived within society.
Another blatant fact has evoked an outcry that reverberated in the ears of gender justice organisations, and is seldomly interrogated, given the extent of its perceived sensitivity, according to research by Sonke Gender Justice, besides injustice inflicted upon citizens of South Africa, this has escalated to migrant women entering the borders illegally which one of the researchers has stated, ln one area where there is a large number of migrants especially women, they get abused because they are vulnerable they don’t have money, no resources, so they are used as sexual objects”.
The researcher further stated, “The women are used for sex in exchange of accommodation which is critical and in exchange for food.”
Not entirely fingering local men in this, she further added, “The women are not only abused by South Africans only, even the very same migrant man who come with them and tell them that they will protect them until they reach their destination, but as long as you going to be with me and provide me with sex then I will do that.”
This deliberate brutality has evoked emotion which Sonke working with Thuthuzela Care Centres has decided to do something about. But according to the researcher, “The victims are always scared to report rape because they fear that they will be sent back to their country of destination as they are in the country illegally.”
Due to this fear they fall prey to, “Experience multiply sections of rapes, which they are also vulnerable to gang rape because they will never know what time and where they are going to be where. The ones that are more targeted are young girls,” she added. To be honest most or some of the women do not know that they have the right to access to services.
- Akhona Zibonti works for Community Media for Development.  

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