Jacob Zuma and I have a tenuous relationship. A certain rape trial lingers in my memory. Listening to him pipe up about women's rights gives me the same feeling that the more intuitive children of Hamelin might have had about the legendary Pied Piper: a smidgen of suspicion and a self-preserving sum of cynicism.
When the story about a Jules High School girl being allegedly raped on the school grounds hit the headlines, I had a flash back to my worst moment as a mother of two daughters, then aged seven and ten.
Almost 80 percent of the men in Gauteng admit to perpetrating some form of violence against women, according to a prevalence survey on gender violence conducted by Gender and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
The survey found that although one in four women in the province has experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, only one in 25 rapes were reported to police.
Casual sex among youths is a sad reality in South Africa.
The Jules High School saga in Johannesburg -- in which a female student was allegedly gang-raped while her classmates watched and videotaped -- is one of many recent horrible and all-too-real scenarios from our schools. Whatever the outcome of this story, it is reason enough to take a closer look at how schools seem to have become dangerous breeding grounds for sexual promiscuity.
A Ugandan anti-gay newspaper has published pictures of 14 men it identified as gay, in a country where homosexuality is illegal and has even prompted calls for the death sentence.
The lead article in The Rolling Stone newspaper, which has no relation to the United States magazine, entitled ‘Men of shame part II’, pictured 14 men identified as the ‘generals’ of the gay movement in Uganda.
The Sonke Gender Justice Network says it will oppose the application for forgiveness of the late filing of an appeal by African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president, Julius Malema, against an Equality Court hate speech ruling.
The organisation’s government and media relations manager, Mbuyiselo Botha, points out that, "Our lawyers think that we [Sonke] have a strong case and strong reasons."
The front-page newspaper story featured a list of Uganda’s 100 ‘top’ homosexuals, with a bright yellow banner across it that read: ‘Hang Them’. Alongside their photos were the men’s names and addresses.
According to Julian Onziema, a rights activist, in the days since the story was published, at least four gay Ugandans on the list have been attacked and many others are in hiding.
Onziema states that one person named in the story had stones thrown at his house by neighbours.
The changing global environment has presented unforeseen consequences; the legalisation and widespread acceptance of homosexuality by certain countries in the world. This, however, has not eased the controversy surrounding homosexuality. So what causes homosexuality; is it innate or something learnt? This is a question that hovers in the minds of millions of people around the world. While homosexuality has gained acceptance in some parts of the world; it remains a problem to many, especially in Africa.
The taxis would not stop honking as the young lady walked across the road with an air of confidence. She was indeed looking great in a jaw-dropping outfit, but her confidence seemed shattered by the nasty statements, insults and jeers that bombarded her from the taxi drivers. As she ran into one of the many cars, it seemed as if she was forced there, unable to endure more disapproval from the taxi drivers and the commuters within them.
As Women's Month comes to a close, I hope this year's celebration has provided us men an opportunity to reflect about our role in an ongoing struggle facing South Africans today.
It is the struggle to achieve gender equality and the struggle to respect the rights of all women in our country. And as men we should be asking ourselves difficult, unconventional and uncomfortable questions, such as: Does the empowerment of women mean that we should feel threatened?