Even though we say that the apartheid era is gone, that oppression has been dealt with and all people are now free, that 1994 is a year we will never forget in our history, women still face challenges all their lives. Rape is one of the crimes that most women still struggle to deal with.
Women bear the brunt of injustices in the society, at workplaces and places of learning.
While old women are victims of rape, younger ones are the most vulnerable, and are abused and raped not only by strangers in the community but by their own relatives in their back yards.
Fathers and uncles are common suspects in these incestuous rape cases. HIV/Aids also has an impact on women.
Participate in nation-building
It’s time women came out of their abusive relationships and made them known, in public. Groups in society need to be formed to fight rape, abuse, social ills, and alcohol and drug abuse.
We all need to participate in nation-building and strive for a peaceful and united South Africa by instilling respect, values and morals.
Empowering one another with knowledge will help us organise forums to fight for women’s rights and emancipation. We need to be driven by the saying “together we stand, divided we fall”.
It is true that many women have lost interest in our Women’s Day celebrations. Women choose to have stokvel parties and braais on this day and they treat it just as a family day.
Revive women’s spirits
Numsa needs to take the initiative to revive women’s spirits on this day. We are currently in a crisis where we don’t have active female unionists within the organisation.
We need to build capacity in women so that they are able to grow within the organisation, federation, alliance and in society so that we will proudly say: “Wathint’abafazi,wathint’imbokodo!” through our own achievements. We need to make these women aware that the triple oppression period has been dead and buried.
Zanele Mbambo is a shop steward at Hesto Harnesses, Isithebe region, KwaZulu-Natal