Women's Day Address 2020

446 views | Sun, 9th of August, 2020

8 August 2020

Women’s Day Address

available on YouTube https://youtu.be/Om8P-fObngo

 

 

 

It is woman’s day in South Africa. I found it fitting to address my sisters, my mothers ,my daughters, my nieces this morning, mainly because the women in ANC have given their voice to Cyril Ramaphosa, the women we have entrusted in EFF have given their agency and voice to Julius Malema. I thought it was important that women hear from a woman, on National Women’s Day, when we women are facing so many things that Cyril and Julius can’t even remotely relate to.

So, I wont be reading a speech that the women around me wrote for me, I am going to be speaking from my heart, as a woman in this country, as a female leader. Unfortunately, the women who should be behind my back and supporting this address are busy twirling for men.

 

I think one of the biggest problems which we need to address, which has shown itself in the issue of patriarchy and toxic masculinity is that men take away the voices of women. Men feel like they have a right to speak for women. They are the man of the house. I am a man, therefore I am right. And I think thus we have reached a situation where we are doing so badly as a community. I think this is a sheer example of the state of affairs in South Africa when two men who are our leaders are the ones representing women on women’s day. Because men feel like they must infiltrate every space. The mere fact that there is woman’s day is because women felt they didn’t have a voice and women needed to stand up for themselves and take agency for themselves. But the men in 2020 have found it fitting that, we don’t need to speak for ourselves. We have no female leaders to speak to us on women’s day. There are no inspiring women who we can share experiences with (according to the men) and therefore we are in a situation where we are being represented by Cyril Ramaphosa and Julius Malema on Women’s Day.

 

I don’t want to get too political but there is a cartoon (Mangena, 20-03-2020) where they are each pointing at each other. Julius Malema saying that Cyril Ramaphosa ‘abused his ex-wife’ and Cyril Ramaphosa also saying Julius is ‘a wife beater.’ So, then these two men, who have this cloud hanging over their heads, are the ones that are representing us on women day is insulting in a grossly…wow, its such an assault to the spirit. That a man like Julius Malema who said that Khwezi enjoyed getting raped is the man representing us today as women. That this man Malema who in public, at parliament was insulting a mother, Baleka Mbete about her sex life. This young boy went for a grown woman’s sex life. This young boy is the same one representing us today, being the national main speaker on women’s day. I think that is one of our main problems, the dismissal of women and the forcing of toxic men into the spaces that should be occupied by women. The main address on women’s day should be occupied by a woman. Women’s day was created by women, for women because we wanted our voices and our rights to be acknowledged. Now sixty years after thousands and thousands, fifty thousand women marched to say, ‘I want my voice to be acknowledged.’ Here we are 2020 having men speak to us, on our behalf when they are the perpetrators of the violence on our bodies. Can you see the problem? How is it that the abuser is going to speak for the victim, and be the voice of the victim…on the victim’s day? How did it make sense to you as national leaders? Women leaders in EFF, women leaders in ANC…how did it make sense to you that we are facing gender based violence on a scale we have never seen in our lives, but you found it fitting that two men, that have a cloud over them, should be the ones speaking for us? I want to also speak about ‘the cloud.’  The cloud that hangs over men. Gentlemen, there is nothing you can do about the cloud. The only way that you can not have a cloud hanging over you is to treat women with respect. When men treat women with respect, there are no scandals that come up. We are seeing a new trend of defamation suits but they make no difference because once there is aspersion cast on your character, we may not speak out loud, but we believe it. So here you are, we sitting silently believing what we believe, and you are going to stand there and speak on our behalf? We the women will choose the women who must speak for us. We the women, will choose female voices who we feel represent us. We the women, can choose for ourselves, because there is a thing where men pick and choose, which women can be in leadership. They pick and choose the patriarchy princesses, the ones they can control, the ones that have no political ideology. Men have used women to keep out strong women from leadership. Men have hijacked the women’s revolution. Men have hijacked women’s day in South Africa. South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the world. Women need to have a voice. We need to hear from the women. If men want to occupy spaces where they can be the keynote address, please, we encourage you to have that men’s conference you keep joking about. You keep joking about the men’s conference and yet women are dying. You are raping women and joking about the men’s conference and then you come and force yourselves into women’s day programs. What is that? Aniguli. You men are sick. You are so sick that now it’s come to a point where you are silencing women. That is our biggest obstacle, that we are facing as women in 2020.

You have taken away our voice. You have not only raped us and murdered our sisters and our mothers and our daughters but now you are going for the jugular. Nisikhamile. And now you are taking up space in our spaces. Men have got enough space it is a man’s world. It has been set up that way.

Men have got enough space. Ninety nine percent of the cake is for men, the one percent we want to call women’s day and you want to take that too? So, when can women speak? When can women use their voices to address their own issues? Do we need your permission for that also? Do we need men’s permission to exist? Do we need men’s permission to speak? If we need men’s permission it means we do not exist. It means mayivalwe. You might as well kill us all now, rape us all because you are already doing it.

 

I want to speak to the women, sister you have a right to be loud, unapologetic, do as you please with your body. You do not need permission or validation from any man. From your brothers, from your fathers, you don’t need permission. You were brought into this world by your creator, and your creator made you a specific way. To be yourself and be you. The minute you give your voice to a man, you are no longer honouring your God. You need to understand that. So, this behaviour where you are quiet and saying ‘he is the man’ has got to stop now. May we be the generation of women who stop all the abusive cycles. May we be the generation of women who speak. May we be the generation of women that help the generation coming after us. They do not need to get raped, like we did. They do not need to be in toxic and abusive relationships and get beaten up like we did. We need to use our voices. It has reached that point, bayasibulala. We cannot sit quietly anymore siyabulalwa.

 

This morning is about speaking to women about unity. We have been taught to hate each other. We have been socialised. We have been taught to fight amongst each other because it is the men who get to choose. They validate us and thus it has created a situation where we fight amongst ourselves to get that validation from our men. Can we acknowledge that? Can we now also acknowledge that we don’t need validation from men. The reason that men can come between us is because we have allowed it. It is because we have allowed them to use jealousy and Divide and Conquer amongst us. The only solution to what we are facing now is unity, wether you like the sister or not, it does not matter anymore. An injury to one woman is an injury to all of us. If he is going to beat you, he will beat the next girl, and the next, and the next. We are all going to get beaten. If he rapes you, he will rape the next girl and the next. We are all going to get raped.

I remember when my rapist was convicted for raping somebody else. Someone said ‘Ntsiki why didn’t you speak up before this person could rape someone else?’ So, do you understand how important your voice is my sister? Do you understand how important it is to point out the rapist, so the other children don’t get raped? Its not about men anymore, we do not need their permission anymore. We have led revolutions from time immemorial. Queen Nzinga led revolutions, women are powerful, we do not need men to give us permission or to give us a gold star.

 

What is happening now is that men are taking advantage of the situation where we don’t stand up for each other. If you don’t stand up for me, they are going to abuse me. If I don’t stand up for you, they are going to abuse you. So wether I like you or I don’t like you, I have to stand up for you. That’s the message this woman’s day: wether a woman is your friend, or she is your enemy, you have to stand up for her, the time is now! You can see all the campaigns cropping up in the past three weeks alone it has just been a mess! Norma Gigaba, Lerato Moloi… it’ s been a mess! This morning we are waking up to the news that at Khaya FM women have been sexually harassed from the beginning. We are finding that in our work-spaces, men are abusing their power and they can abuse their power because the system works for them. So, the boss can sleep with all the subordinates and get away with it for years because we are quiet. Silence encourages violence. Silence allows violence. This is a time that we cannot be silent. We cannot be silenced. Zindzi Mandela said that if anybody tries to silence you then you must be as loud as possible, and if on women’s day, men are are taking the platform, we need to be loud as possible as say ‘this is some bullshit!’  We can speak for ourselves. You don’t have a vagina, you cannot speak on behalf of people who have vaginas. You don’t bleed every single month, you cannot speak on behalf of people who bleed every month. You don’t even look after your children, you cannot speak on behalf of these women who are raising your children when you have disappeared. How dare you take up our platform? How dare you speak for us? Who are you? You who has stories about beating up women, has stories about raping women and now you want to take the platform on women’s day? Go to the men’s conference and go address the men about what the men are doing to women and leave the women’s day events alone for women to speak amongst themselves about the issues that affect women.

 

Right now, condoms are free but sanitary towels must be paid for. You don’t give a s@#& because it doesn’t affect you. You don’t care. We have never seen you go on period drives collecting pads for women, we’ve never seen you do that. We have never seen you speak about famous rapists, you always protect bazothini. But here we are as women, we are not scared, we are speaking for them and yet here you are taking our platforms! Rha man love yourselves. We are sick and tired of you, go and make your own Man’s Day. And when you make your Man’s day…address why you are beating up women. Address why you are raping women. But here you are wanting to be the voices of women? We don’t need you to be our voices. We don’t need you in front of us, we need you behind us. We don’t need you in front of us, we need you behind us. Supporting us. Supporting the women’s voice saying ‘yes, whatever she says, I agree.’

We want to speak for ourselves, get off our stage.

You have been oppressing us and now you want to hide inyala lakho. Get off that stage so that we can speak and say how you are abusing us.

 

We don’t even have menstruation leave. We bleed every three weeks, but we are not allowed to take two or three days off to look after our bodies, when something natural is happening to it. Is Cyril Ramaphosa going to talk to us about that? Is Julius Malema going to talk about that? Are they going to tell us about period pain? Are they going to tell us what to do with our period pain?

On that note, for your period paid, make a smoothie, beetroot, ginger and chilies. Also avoid eating red meat a week before your period, it’s a lighter flow. You can also make mphepho tea and drink.

I don’t know how you feel about tampons, but I am not comfortable with bleached cotton wool up my vagina, so I always encourage pads, but I know some people find it yucky.

Period talk should be an on going talk all the time because they happen to us every three weeks.

We also need to talk about changing our pads and tampons regularly to avoid bacterial infections. We need to treat our coochie very well. Ladies… love your vaginas. Love thy vagina, don’t be scared to get a mirror and check out what it looks like. You have really got to have a loving relationship with your vagina because there are so many issues we store in our gut, in our stomach and in our wombs. When you don’t have a healthy relationship with your vagina you do create emotional and spiritual blocks.

 

We need to speak about our vaginas and spiritual healing especially after a rape. Speaking from personal experience, I found that when I went in my mind into the moment of the rape. I went to the girl who is getting raped and I apologised to her and sent love and positive energy to her. I found that it helped in my process of healing. I know its not an easy thing to do to go back to the moment where you were violated , but I also know that when we ignore our pain after being raped we create so many blockages and pain for ourselves. For many years I tried to ignore the fact that I had been raped but it really affected me, it just drove me crazy. I know most of us have experienced sexual assault, so I am comfortable speaking about this. I want us to go back to that moment when we were raped and love ourselves again, love our vaginas again, love our spirits again, love our bodies again. To not fear sex. To not fear men. It took me years, people can see me lashing out on twitter, it is one hundred percent about the fact that I was raped by a man.

I don’t understand how men think that after they rape us, we are going to have this feeling of goodwill towards them. No... if you get raped, you start hating men because you cannot trust them.

I never put myself in a position where I am alone with a guy. I do not do that anymore. I wanted to speak about our healing. The healing of the spirit. The healing of the body after a rape.

 

How do we deal with rape? How do we deal with domestic violence? How do we deal in the workspace? Men are still getting paid much more than us. How do we navigate the economics? I am finding it so ridiculous how men get paid more than us and yet want to have an opinion on sex work. Sex work was created because men have excluded women from the work-space, because men are abusing women economically, because if she doesn’t make her own money he is going to continue abusing her. Why do men think it is in their place to have an opinion on women and sex work when they are the ones who have created the situation.

 

There are things I just don’t understand about the psyche of men, however one thing I know for sure…is our men need healing.