By Deekay Ndoni Sibanda
We haven’t forgotten Mr Zuma. It’s been a long cold season for South African Women. We have not forgotten since the trail which started in February 2006 at the Johannesburg High Court in South Africa and during this time there was a formation of the One in Nine Campaign which stood-by and in support of Fezeka (known in the media as Khwezi). The One in Nine Campaign is a network of organisations and individuals driven by feminist principles and the desire to live in a society where women are the agents of their own lives, including their sexual lives.
Ten years have passed since his rape trial was dismissed in May 2006, Jacob Zuma’s shower continues to drip in the hearts of women. In the context we live in I beleve that what has happened to her has happened to every single woman living in South Africa, therefore, “Personal is political.”
In those ten years I can only imagine how Khwezi has been. I wonder if she has come to terms with what happened to her.
I personally have learned a lot from your story and that has made me at look things and challenge them in a different way. I can confidently claim that I am an agent of my own life because you have played that part in my life. You stood for all women including those who didn’t believe and stand up for you. You went through a lot in your life, being exiled in your own body and your country. I can only imagine how that was, and still is, for you. It is women like you who are called leaders, who confront adverse situations irrespective of the shame and humiliation.
You never gave up.
Khwezi. You are very brave, you encouraged many women to speak out regardless of their situation. Womandla Khwezi!
The South African climate for women and young girls is still very gloomy. Your case proved to us that even the most powerful can commit heinous crimes of violence against women, the very same power which is meant to uphold the rights and dignity of women but in turn it diminished the conscience of all men that are perpetrators. This may well be nothing to the president but the damage he did can never be undone until he faces the wrath of women of this country.
To this day we are still hurting and frustrated by what happened to Khwezi, and what continues to happen to other women, who have to succumb to the on-going physical and emotional torture they suffer at the hands of men.
Zuma was not found guilty for raping Khwezi according to the country’s justice system. This is because this is a system that is, to my knowledge and experience, one is more often in favor of men especially those that have money and power.
Even on the eve of Zuma’s presidency, his image was already tarnished and plagued with many scandals. His term in office leaves little to desired, as it too has been plagued in corruption and economic and political turmoil, whilst he continues to defecate on good humanitarian acts and ethics, especially within the realms of women.
There have been a number of traumatic events during his tenure that ought to be revisited. Traumatic events that have been met by silence on the part of the president. I speak on this issue because it is women’s bodies who suffer in peril, that are expected to provide for their families as single parents, they are supposed to raise their kids with or without the support of the fathers.
There has been an increase number of cases of violence against women which he doesn’t address or act against. There has been nothing said in his statements and speeches about gender based violence, brutal killings of Queer women, sex workers, rape of women in the mines, just to name a few.
This is not to mention the shocking utterances of September of 2006 in which he said:
When I was growing up, unqingili (homosexuals) could not stand in front of me this is a disgrace to the nation and to God.
These words will never be forgotten by many families who have lost their children to homophobia.
In his bouquet of failures, he continues to demonstrate a lack of respect for women, his recent remarks on how women are missing out on marriage by showing their disapproval to being objectified by men. Thandiswa Maqgeleba, who commented on the Destiny Connect Facebook page, said:
I am telling you it’s almost like this guy was guilty of those rape charges. The statement he makes about women is almost like he thinks they are objects that should appreciate whatever is being done or handed to them by men. It’s sad because he is public principal of our country and our young men have to grow up and look up to such mentalities. If a woman or anyone does not like the way you are complementing them…You should STOP.
My question is, why does the South African judiciary, its society and the ANC continue to protect a man who has done no good to serve his people? This has meant that we live in a space in which nothing has changed and nothing will, as is seen in the ten years of his rape trial.
It is time for women to change things as the current system and society will not change things for us.
South Africa has a long history of women’s movement building. What comes to the fore is the women’s march of 1956 where 20 000 South African women marched against pass laws. Women are pissed off and I see the dawn of a new revolution because they are aware of the different ways of oppression that manifests in today’s world.
And we should all, as a collective confront these systems of oppression and revolt against them!
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