Sunday, August 12, 2012

You strike a woman, you strike a rock.

In August 1956 20,000 women marched and protested against the Urban Areas Act in South Africa. The act said that all non-white people in South Africa had to carry a pass in order to be able to travel to various areas around their cities and towns. They took a stand and stood for their rights as humans and they made a difference. Their slogan, for want of a better word, was "Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokodo!" translated "Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock!" 54 years later and this phrase has changed slightly to "You strike a woman, you strike a rock!" Its some what of a challenge, "you mess with us and you gonna see what happens, we will not be moved." I LOVE this phrase. So I was thinking of this while I spent time with my ladies in the Homeless Shelter this Thursday, Women's Day. My question was "What is it to be a woman?"
This is Precious and her baby Lungelo. " I do not even feel like a woman any more. I have had every part of me taken away. I am an empty shell. I am dying from a virus that I didn't ask for and I gave that virus to my son, now tell me what kind of woman does that? I am nothing."
Belinda is 48. "As a women I don't want to be living the life that I am living. Who I am is not who I really am. I gave up everything because I fell in love with the wrong man. He was an addict and I finally caved in and started to use as well. I am now addicted to heroine and I have to sell myself to be able to survive. I know that God has me in His hand. I pray every time I go looking for a client, I pray that the man that picks me up is not a crazy person, I pray for protection. I pray for forgiveness. I can not go to work without getting strung out on heroine, its the only way that I can cope. Being a woman with no job and no money no home and no family, I do what I have to do to survive."
Mary mother of 4. "It is not easy being a woman in this place. This is not what I dreamed for my life. When I was little I dreamed of living on a farm, somewhere safe where my children could run and play. To live a life where I could send my children to school, so that they could have a better life than me. But here I am, living in hell. Last night a rat climbed over our bed. There are roaches everywhere and I am struggling to provide for my children. My husband is a cocaine addict and uses all our money on his drugs. My prayer is that God provides a better life for my children, because I can not."
Chantelle and her 5 year old daughter Judelle. "God gives me strength to keep living here, with out Him I could not cope. Every day is stressful and my heart aches for a better life, but that life is out of my reach. I try and look cheerful on the outside but my heart and mind is crying out. I would just like to have one day when I am happy and peaceful."
Ronelle 27. "Women's Day has never meant anything to me. Being a woman in this country is hard. There is no respect for us. Why should there only be one day set aside to treat women right? We need to teach our sons to respect all women. If there is only one thing that I teach my son it will be to treat women with respect."


Minzy Feyscribe said...

Its good that people have empathy to listen and ease the burden's of others. Big Hugs Vashti - wish I could do more

Minzy Feyscribe said...

I am glad someone is listening and doing something to make it better.

Kirsty said...

What an inspiring woman you are Vashti, thank you for sharing these stories. It really helps put life into perspective