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NOT AN AFRICAN WOMAN? SAYS WHO?

All my life I’ve been labelled “the skinny girl” and because of this I suffered from a very low self-esteem. Growing up people would make fun of my weight and height sharing their unkind and unwelcomed comments about how skinny and tall I am. Some people would ask ignorant questions such as “do you even eat?” In my mind I will be rolling my eyes and thinking, “yes genius! I mean how on earth would I be standing here alive and talking to you if I did not eat”. And then there was the torture I endured at school. When I was in primary school I was teased and called all sorts of terrible names such as “toothpick”, “ostrich”, “sticks” and the list was endless. In High school the torture continued as found myself wearing layers of clothing under and on top of my school uniform even when it was 30 degrees outside, just to give the illusion that I wasn’t as  skinny as people thought I was.

I recall a particular incident in grade 9, where some kids drew a very nasty comic strip about me, and the contents of the comic strip were disheartening. They drew an image, apparently that image was me, and they said I was HIV positive and ascribed that to be the reason for me being skinny. I have never cried that much in my entire life, the pain was unbearable.

I remember at some point I wanted to end my life because I couldn’t take the constant taunting and ridicule from the other learners. What was even more sad was the fact that I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I was going through. I thought no one would understand my dilemma and honestly, I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t easily share deep personal feelings and personal information.

I am in university now, and although I do feel like I’m accepting my body a bit better than I did when I was younger, it’s still tough when almost everyone around me epitomises a certain kind of beauty. Sometimes I try to ignore their comments but it is really difficult to do so when everyone is constantly on your case about your weight and pointing out that you are not “woman enough”, because you don’t have curves. People can be so insensitive as they do not realise how much their words pierce through and affect the way I view myself as a woman and particularly as an African woman.

Just because I am thin doesn’t mean that I’m sick. I was born this way and there is nothing I can do about it. We live in a time where society and social media celebrate a particular image of the ‘perfect woman’. This ‘perfect woman’ is someone with a curvy body, a big butt and big breasts, “bigger is better” they say. What message are they sending out to young African girls that are still coming into their womanhood? Are they saying they are not good enough? That they need to change how they look to fit into the standard of beauty that has been idolised by many? Don’t even get me started on the number of young girls that have had plastic surgery to enhance their body parts, just so they could feel “good enough”. Whenever I log onto my Instagram account, in the explorer page I am always bombarded with hundreds of photos and feeds celebrating this one type of beauty with hashtags such as #Bigisbeautiful #curvygirlsonly #thickthighssaveslives etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is problem with celebrating a curvy body. But all I am trying to say is, let us not view a certain body type as a standard of what a woman should look like but rather we should recognise that all women come in different shapes and sizes. Whether they’ve got a big booty or not, our society should celebrate all body types and no one should feel left out.

I am not only writing this to speak up for myself but also for other young women who have struggled with their body image throughout their lives. I want to encourage you to come out of your shell, embrace who you are and recognise that you are also a  beautiful African woman.

Image courtesy: https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/78046999/body-shape-animated-word-cloud-text-design-animation-kinetic.html

 

About the writer: 

Lindelwa Mhlongo loves God, loves family, experiencing new things and is make-up and beauty connoisseur. She is a hard worker and lives each day full of gratitude. She is currently a student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), and she wants to change people’s lives whilst also pursuing her passions.

 

Why I think culture is a choice, and heritage is not…

One of the benefits of democratic South Africa, is the recognition of the vast diversity in our nation. Every year on the 24thof September, since its first inception in 1995 we commemorate Heritage Day.

The officiating of Heritage Day was not just about adding an additional public holiday on the calendar, but it was strategically placed to cement the message around total inclusivity and appreciation for the diverse people of the land.

The official government definition for  “heritage” is “things people inherit, such as culture, history, wildlife, monuments, artwork, literature, music, folklore, languages, culinary traditions, and more” (https://publicholidays.net.za/heritage-day/)

Based on the above definition, the word ‘inherit’ stands out for me most. I think we need to look broadly at how we commemorate Heritage Day. Usually when we celebrate Heritage Day, we dress up in our various traditional attires, eat traditional/cultural food and listen to traditional/cultural music. In this “woke” generation where everyone wants to live their truth, I have witnessed that more and more people are “going back” to their roots and attempting to live out more cultural practices than western practices.

But there is another layer to culture, which can get controversial and that feeds into things such as belief systems and spiritual/cultural practices.

The ongoing controversy can come from traditionalists who oppose the fusion of cultural practices with modernity. Spiritually, there can also be some controversy in that, while there are certain cultural elements we embrace in Christianity, there are others we don’t embrace. To some people being a believer means you have abandoned one’s culture.

I am a believer who happens to love her Zulu heritage and I think I am very ‘cultured’  just perhaps not in the way we have traditionally defined what it means to be  ‘cultured’.

A definition that wraps up the differences beautifully for me, reads as follows: “Heritage refers to the things that we inherit, while culture is about what we create.” (https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-difference-culture-heritage-393504).

Culturally people are always doing things differently, culture is not cast in stone and how we define our contributions to our culture will vary.

Heritage gets given to us without much of a choice, (example- heritage of being Zulu-I was born Zulu and I can’t change that). Being Zulu, I have also inherited my language, the incredible Zulu history and the land of course… 🙂

In a nutshell, what I am saying is Culture is a choice and Heritage is not. Don’t allow people to impose on you how you should show up “culturally” in the world.

On a much lighter note, let me just say-Happy Heritage Day!  🙂 Enjoy…

 

Image courtesy: https://www.portfoliocollection.com 

My thoughts – “The People vs Patriarchy…”

I finally watched the documentary film titled The People vs Patriarchy’ courtesy of Brownsense. A friend of mine told me about this film and I was convinced I needed to watch it.

It has to be one of the best documentaries in my 2018 radar as it beautifully captures dialogues around patriarchy.

 

Patriarchy is defined as:

ˈpeɪtrɪɑːki/

noun

“A system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”  (www.dictionary.com).

 

I would like to share a few snippets about the documentary without divulging too much because I want to encourage you to go and watch it.

The film is divided into various “frames” or “chapters” seeking to address the following questions/statements:

  • What is patriarchy?
  • Solutions to address patriarchy?
  • The call out movement
  • The mixed feelings around #Menaretrash campaign

The above questions and statements are posed in various focus groups and one on one interviews.

These are my three main reflections post watching the film:

It was hilarious : There were a lot of funny moments, and my friend and I kept nudging each other. There was one particular scene that stood out for me. A guy appeared in the film and was asked the question “what is patriarchy?” and his response, “It’s good to be patriotic” , lol, that was hilarious. Although I understand that it’s not fair to ask someone to share their thoughts on something they don’t know, but it was funny nonetheless J.

I felt Angry: I started having recollections of my own life and remembered the unkind subjection to the patriarchal system from an early age. It sought to control me at home and in social institutions such as school and the church. Even today, I have an on-going struggle and I realise that women themselves, perpetuate this patriarchal system. Example, in the documentary, an elderly woman made a comment that, “…it’s okay for women to stay in abusive relationships because that’s God’s will and He would give them the strength to endure.”

I was challenged: I asked myself a question- what role, small or big, am I playing to challenge the patriarchal system?  I don’t want my activism to live on social media, or in boardroom screenings and panel discussions. How can my activism be real and tangible? In the film, there was a gentleman who shared an example of a man beating a woman and an onlooker watched the abuse unfold, not knowing what to do. He then decided to walk up to the man who was beating the woman and ask for a  lighter. In that moment the man stopped beating the woman. The act of asking for a lighter succeeded in  disrupting the abuse. The gentlemen sharing the story concluded by saying,  ‘there are small disruptive actions we can take to oppose patriarchal manifestations.’

We still in August, women’s month and I am saddened that millions of women in South Africa and across the globe suffer at the hands of men who profess to love them. Patriarchy takes various forms, some subtle and some deadly.

My final reflective thoughts on this topic are as follows:

We need to recognize that there is a big difference between solving a problem and managing a tension. Addressing the patriarchal system is not a problem we can solve in the short term, no matter how many campaigns and dialogues we engage in. Why? Because its biggest contributors are culture and religion and those are part and parcel of society.

In the ongoing anti-patriarchy dialogues and social movements, we need wisdom to guide us on appropriate strategies in managing this as a tension.

Please see link for the documentary trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7G_vbW3mXs

What are your thoughts on this anti patriarchy movement? Please comment below.

 

Image courtesy: http://kdaniellesmedia.com/

 

 

See things as they are, not as you are…

In the spirit of women’s month, a few days ago, the women of South Africa took to the streets, partaking in a shutdown march. The march sent a strong message to the nation, that ‘no more violence, enough was enough’. We witnessed various social media tags saying “#MyBodyIsNotYourCrimeScene”

Women rights movements have heightened in recent years, and we applaud the massive progress made, both on a global and national scale. However, I found myself asking the question, ‘if so much awareness and hype is being created around women’s rights, why do we still witness a rise in the violation of these rights?’ As I was reflecting on this question, I saw something in the book I’m currently reading (The purpose driven life – Rick Warren). The author quotes, We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” – Anais Nin

I realise that on an individual level, the work of shifting how women are perceived, is insurmountable and may not be a war we can fully conquer. My conviction on the last statement, was sparked by a discussion I had with a gentleman recently. This gentleman is educated, successful, wealthy and you would think these things would equal open mindedness.  Our discussion got heated because I found his perception of what a woman is and should be to be primitive and oppressive. Post my discussion with him, I engaged different women around challenging primitive and oppressive opinions about us, but I was shocked by the responses.

I thought all my ‘sisters’ will embrace a more ‘liberated’ view. I am no feminist, but I do not believe that a woman’s role is to cook and clean. I feel both genders can actively partake in those tasks for the home to function optimally. I was rebuked by some women, who insisted that is how things should be. They even went on to say that, ‘we’ (‘we’ – are the women who question things) are the problem in our society. Apparently, it is ‘us’ who drive men to abuse and cheat. Wow! Such statements from my fellow sisters made me realise that indeed, “we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”. If you embrace the ideals of kindness, fairness and open-mindedness, you will approach people and life that way. If you embrace the ideals of tradition, patriarchy and maintaining status quo, you will approach people and life that way also.

All along I have been thinking I am pro women’s rights and empowerment, but I have realized that, I must be careful of not wrapping an individual truth as a collective idea. The only collective truth that we should all uphold, is one that does NOT tolerate abuse in all forms imposed on women.

 Yes, women’s roles are shifting and maybe it’s okay for some people to still hold on to what some of us may deem as ‘primitive’. As long as women are not abused and murdered, we need to allow people to live life according to the ideals they uphold without forcing our own on them.

I realised that the gentleman I was having a discussion with, may have valid points and I took my opinion as the gospel truth, but really our opinions can never be used as the ultimate ‘be all and end all’  because they are shaped by how we individually view the world.

We all struggle to see things as they are, it’s a constant battle for those thriving towards progress. However, the more self-aware we become, the more we able to make these small but significant changes.

 

Image courtesy:https://waitbutwhy.com

We the people!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend an Immigration Seminar (just in case you are wondering- lol, no I don’t want to immigrate- just curiosity got me there!) anyway, I arrived thinking it will be a small seminar room. Boom, I enter, it was one of those massive conference rooms in the hotel, packed to its fullest capacity.

The first thing that shocked me, was the diversity in the room – meaning different races, genders and ages were present. I always assumed, based on passed observations that it was old white people who would want to immigrate and leave the country. This happened a lot in the days prior to 1994 and the early years after 1994. This was due to uncertainty around what the “new democratic South Africa” would bring.

As I listened to the speaker, who was so eloquent in his explanation of the migration process, I was particularly drawn to two interesting statements he made. He said, “I want you to bear in mind that South Africa is like any first world country, the only difference is that there are still some developing world issues. People in this nation leave the country hoping for something better, but there are no guarantees in country X and Y.”

 “Migration is always a compromise, there is always something you will gain and something you lose.”

I sensed a bit of un-comfort in the room when he made those statements, but people soon shared sentiments that, it’s a risk they willing to take. The gentlemen sitting next to me, a black man in his late thirties I assume, said to me “You know sisi, truly speaking I love this country, but recently I got retrenched and have been struggling to find work. I am here because country Y looks very promising.  I started my own business last month and have been seeking funding assistance from the government, if nothing changes in 3 months, sadly I will leave and immigrate to country Y.”

As I sat there listening and hearing the sentiments of why people wanted to leave the country, I was truly overwhelmed. I know there are a lot of things South Africans are unhappy about, to name a few, corruption in government, crime, poverty, unemployment, high cost of living etc. I always hear people complain, in fact I get annoyed when people complain about South Africa. In my mind, I reason that South Africa is not perfect, we acknowledge that. But no country is perfect. In many ways South Africa, has a lot of good things and she has opened her arms to millions of people who are not citizens of the land.

I think being in that room and hearing some of the real struggles that people are going through- got me thinking about whether democracy is not just a “feel good” “sound good” word on a page.

The United States and South African constitution preambles are very similar. The first sentence of the United States constitution reads “We the People” and the first sentence of the South African constitution reads “We, the people of South Africa”. I am highlighting these two constitutions because they have been applauded as the most progressive constitutions in the world. Both nations claim to uphold the highest forms of human rights and democracy. But we know that there seems to be a mismatch between this ideal and the realities of these nations.

The whole premise of “We the people” bestows power to the people of the land. These words advocate that it is the People who govern the land and the laws of the land should favor its people, thereby entrenching Human Rights in all factions of society.

 If this is our constitutional foundation, why are so many people in this nation feeling disgruntled?

How do We,the people of South Africa,ensure that we don’t surrender all power to the Government in bringing about the change we want to witness in the land?

History has taught us that civil rights movements are very effective in bringing about social change. Real difference making doesn’t have to be big and complex, it starts small. Wherever you find yourself able to influence, please do so. If we all embrace the ideology of “We the people”, we, can start slowly but surely reclaiming this nation. You have the power, use it. I am saying to the people of South Africa, let us begin to engage in constructive dialogues on how we can make our country the glorious rainbow nation it was meant to be.

Image courtesy: https://graphitepublications.com

Lead us, but not into Temptation!

In a world where truth is no longer an absolute but relative, it remains extremely hard to find true leadership. The Leadership Vacuum keeps on growing exponentially!

In my view, there seems to be a difficulty for leaders to recognize and appreciate the sincere outcry of the people they lead. This outcry is perfectly captured in the petition prayer expression “…Lead Us, but not into Temptation…”

“…Lead Us, but not into Temptation…” is a prayer made by women in their dark houses begging abusive, careless & full of rage men and husbands.

“…Lead Us, but not into Temptation…” is a plea made by children beseeching abusive, inconsiderate & absent fathers and/or mothers expected to fulfill a role of guidance, supervision and parenthood.

“…Lead Us, but not into Temptation…” is an outcry made by professionals, workers crying against patriarchal, racist and exploitive businesses & corporates who in verbatim continue exploiting its employees with cruelty!

“…Lead Us, but not into Temptation…” is an uproar made by congregants pleading with self-serving churches, clergymen & leaders and then expect to take the podium under a grace disguise message, correcting everyone else.

“…Lead Us, but not into Temptation…” is a petition made by citizens begging a corrupt, unethical & crooked state that operates on nepotism and patronage.

While presented with all kinds of options to retaliate the victim is left with nothing but the leisure of time to take in all that is happening to him or her and then – Retaliate Deadly!

Ipso facto, then we dare to ask ourselves, how could the victim – the silent victim retaliate in such a despicable manner.

We are preoccupied, absent and inattentive to genuine cry expressed in many shapes and forms in our daily discourse. The cry is simple;

Yes! Lead Us (You Can), But Not into Temptation!

Article image courtesy of: https://soul2work.com

 

About the Writer:

Tumi Ramonotsi is a Debate Show Anchor, Inspirational Speaker, Business Analyst, Social Commentator and Young Business Leader. His academic background is in Information and Communication Technology. Tumi studied and completed his tertiary qualification at the Vaal University of Technology majoring in Business Analysis.

Tumi is also involved in Mentoring Young Leaders, Philanthropic initiatives and advocating for Excellence in Leadership. In his spare time, he invests in extensive research and reading on the subjects/topics such as:
· Business Leadership
· Politics and Transformation
· Youth Development

Viva Africa!

If you have been reading the recent PenTheVision posts, you will realize that we have been sharing columns that centre around African awakening and excellence. Well, today’s piece is no different.

25 May is commemorated as Africa Day and what better month than May to pen my thoughts for this year’s Africa Day.

My thoughts were sparked by a conversation I was having with a dear friend and something a journalist said over the radio that led me down memory lane. I remember going for a University tour as part of our exam for that Semester to Isandlwana where the battle of Isandlwana, known as the Anglo–Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom took place. It was also a great victory for the Zulu Kingdom.

The gentlemen narrating the history to us was so amazingly eloquent in unpacking the powerful Zulu history and touched on the broader unpenned African history which I had never heard taught at school. He even went on to say that the kind of information he was sharing with us, we would never find penned in any African history book because it has been years of recollections he has gathered from people in the different African communities.

That trip, being on those mountains were blood was shed, and engaging with the incredible stories that were shared, changed my life and most importantly changed my perspective on what it truly meant to be African. But you know what was both heart-breaking and heart-warming about this experience, was our guide, the gentlemen passionate about this history and sharing with us, was a white man.

Look, initially I was very happy that a white man in South Africa would choose to live in the very rural part of Kwa-Zulu Natal and learn the Zulu language so well, but I was saddened that we Africans didn’t know or worse, care to know about such vital parts of our history.

For too long most African history at school, always focused on how the British Empire “civilised” Africa. Even the word “civilised” still needs to be further opposed because those who define what civilisation is, wear a ‘western’ hat.

The conversation I had with my dear friend sparked a realisation in me that I need to do something about this concern for our African history.

So, I am making a public commitment and I would like the broader community of like minded people to hold me accountable. I want to do a proper research, study, teaching and documentation of African history using different methods of gathering information to make sure I do justice to this process. This is not some “woke” sensationalism stunt, but a serious conviction in my heart to ensure that the next generation of Africans are fully equipped with the right and relevant history.

The term “woke” has become a popular buzz word that speaks to awakening, enlightenment and the celebration of our African heritage, but the reality is our parents and those before us have always been ‘woke’ it’s just that they never had the platforms to fully express their “wokeness”. Now that we do have these platforms, let us be deliberate in playing our part.

But enough with serious stuff – let’s take time to enjoy this Africa month in true African celebration style – whether you are doing the South African Vosho, or Nigerian Skelewu or Kenyan Isikuti or Zimbawean Jerusarema dance – just celebrate being an African – Viva Africa!

What are your thoughts on the above article? Please share them at – bongeka@penthevision.co.za

Sophiatown Vuka!

A couple of weeks ago my friends and I went to watch a play titled SOPHIATOWN at the state theatre. Prior to watching the play, I didn’t have any expectations, but to just have fun. I had no idea that at the end of that play, it would unravel so much emotion in me.

Though it was an exceptional play, in fact top of the list in terms of plays I have watched. The cast, the music and the entire production were world class. But at the end of the play, I was so angry. I was angry that black South Africans have suffered so much in their native land at the hands of non-natives. I was angry that millions of our people lost their lives at the hands of an evil political system. I was even more angry that the history they taught us at school did not do justice to the intricacies of what really happened in the 1940s and 1950s.

To be honest, I don’t recall the history at school covering much about Sophiatown and other critical African history. In fact, we were always led to believe that Sophiatown was the epitome of the black enlightenment period due to the prime of Drum magazine and the Jazz culture.

My deeper knowledge of the history of Sophiatown was a few years ago when I was in University. It was only then, that I got to understand how the oppressive government of the time dismantled Sophiatown.

But I had to make peace with the anger I felt because when you realise that history can be forged to serve an agenda, you also feel empowered to influence public dialogues on how we can also own the ‘pen’ of history as this article seeks to achieve.

I assume also that maybe my emotions were sparked by the recent loss of Mama Winnine Madikizela -Mandela and the contradictory conversations that we have had post her passing. Also, the very critical and ever so important land conversation that we are having in South Africa now.

Reality is, those of us who are not in political or influential spaces can feel very overwhelmed and helpless about these conversations. We also want to contribute in making South Africa better and for me, one of the best ways to do that, is to influence in the space where you are.

Whether you actively or passively engage with what is happening in our society, one way or the other it will affect you. Let us not tire in wanting to redress past injustices, even if you don’t know what to do, don’t be too nonchalant about these things.

When I say Sophiatown Vuka, vuka meaning – “to awake”, all I am advocating for is that we will continue to remember the injustices of the past and dismantle “Economic Apartheid”. Watching the play rekindled a fire that reminded me that there are still important social ills to address in democratic South Africa.

If you wish to watch this amazing play, please visit the below website for more information:

http://www.statetheatre.co.za/Home/userid/8/sophiatown-12836

After you have watched it, please share your thoughts at – bongeka@penthevision.co.za

Image courtesy of : https://www.artlink.co.za

We welcome a “disruptive” woke

In the past month we witnessed thousands of our young people graduating from Universities across our nation; South Africa. Most people who have worked towards achieving a degree will tell you how often we look forward to a graduation ceremony because it’s a great achievement that we get to share with our loved ones. We have always considered University graduation ceremonies to be very formal ceremonies whose proceedings are rooted in ancient Western culture. A few years ago, when we graduated, I would have never imagined anyone to do what was considered out of the “formal norm”; as I have witnessed our young graduates of the last two years do.

The only thing that we witnessed at our graduation ceremonies were, ululations and shouts of gratitude from our families and friends. I even remember telling my mom not to shout or ululate so as not to embarrass me, but of course mom didn’t listen, shout she did…hahaha.

Now that I look back I realise that it was wrong of me to define how she should celebrate her child’s achievement, after all she played a significant role in me accomplishing that degree and in our culture as Zulu’s and African’s our celebrations are always very expressive.

If you have been following the trends on social media, you know that graduation ceremonies in South Africa have taken a whole new meaning.

I was particularly intrigued by graduates of the University of KwaZulu Natal, seeing them proudly wearing their traditional Zulu attire and expressing their happiness through “ukusina” and “ukugiya” (traditional Zulu dance). This is an African way of celebrating, and in all social events in the African culture you are bound to see this kind of expressive behaviour. It is truly remarkable to witness!

Of course, some may feel that these displays of gratitude at University ceremonies may be a bit “disruptive” because everyone may want to do their own thing and reality is, somehow University graduation ceremonies should have a “formalised structure”.

However, I also believe that Universities are supposed to be hubs in which we constantly breeding new ideas and challenging the status quo. Young people are really redefining the status quo and if its disrupts the formalised proceedings, then so be it. No change or transformation comes without disruption. If indeed we are to rewrite the narrative of our higher academic institutions to serve the “woke” generation and contribute to our society then we welcome such “disruptions”.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Please feel free to share at – bongeka@penthevision.co.za

 

Image courtesy of – https://twitter.com/ukzn

The Love Triangle- Malema | Mama Winnie | And us

South Africa is the most exciting place to be right now. It is a period of heightened political conversations around the life of our beloved Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. This article is my expression of freedom of speech and by no means meant to serve any political agenda, but just to share some insights.

It’s been almost 3 weeks since mama passed on and this past Saturday we witnessed as she was laid to rest. The aftermath of her funeral service has lingered through the media, social media and general conversations through campaigns like #JuliusMalemaChallenge.

This campaign serves as a symbol of great humour as millions partook of the ‘challenge’. However, in the opinions of some political analysts there are very serious implications that Julius Malema’s speech carries. At the core of his speech was his recognition of the life of Mama Winnie and her significant, yet sometimes overlooked contribution in bringing about change in our nation. In his speech, he also took a serious jab at those he believed had not afforded Mama the recognition and dignity she deserved during her lifetime.

I am no political analyst; just an ordinary citizen of South Africa and to witness such complex political conversations in my nation leaves me with mixed emotions. This whole season unfolding as it does, feels like a love triangle between Malema’s zeal for Mama, Mama’s Winnie’s life and us.

Who is the “us” in this love triangle?

To me, the “us” is the millions of South Africans and other global citizens who don’t have the full context of history, who are not aware of the political complexities and frankly who are upset that this zeal for Mama’s legacy only seems to be heightened now that she is gone, and we ask the question, how do we truly honour mama?

The “us” is those who recognise the real enemy. The real enemy is inequality in various forms in our nation and across the world. Truth is, if millions of our people still go to bed hungry and live under the most degrading of human standards, we have a lot to do in honour of Mama Winnie’s legacy.

The “us” is those who look critically at campaigns such as #IAMWINNIEMANDELA because we deeply introspect and ask, can we really be Winnie Mandela? Can we sacrifice our marriages and time with our children for a greater cause? Can we suffer discrimination and gruesome physical abuse? Are we willing to be accused of crimes? Are we willing to be often misunderstood?  Are we willing to lose the best years of our lives so that other people’s lives can be better?

I love how the CEO of the Business Women’s Association of South Africa put it, “Mama Winnie had uncommon courage.” It is this “uncommon courage” displayed that has the nation on its feet and why Malema’s speech was this impactful.

Mama Winnie was a gift to a generation and she lived out her purpose as best as she could. If indeed the “us” who say we love Mama and we honour her, for her contribution to the rights that we enjoy today, then we need to rethink how we express this love in our generation.

In my opinion the struggle journey continues. Yes, Apartheid as an institution of racially segregating people was destroyed legally. But the after effects of Apartheid still live on. We must take the baton from Mama Winnie’s generation and recognise that we also must tackle socio-economic inequality head on.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Please feel free to share at bongeka@penthevision.co.za

Image courtesy of https://blackbusinesscouncil.org .

 
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