This year’s Women’s Day marked 66 years since more than 20 000 brave women marched on the Union Buildings against the pass laws. Since then, every year we commemorate the various strides made by different women and issues concerning women. However, with South Africa labelled as a GBV capital, many women do not believe in the “Happy Women’s Day” narrative.
It is a fact that South Africa has become an increasingly unsafe country to live in, especially for women and children. With rape and abuse statistics consistently sky-rocketing, it has become more than clear that this country is a jungle. As a result, many women do not believe that there is anything worth celebrating on Women’s Day.
As a believer of celebrating small victories, I believe that there is so much to celebrate as a woman. Despite everything that women go through, there is so much more to us. The very first thing to celebrate is our diversity. We exist in more ways than we can ever understand. Different shapes, shades, sizes and mindsets. We are creative and colourful beings who always find a way to care for the environment around us. Think about how we show up to family gatherings or a best friend’s celebration. We are so hands-on that it is easier for people to assume that the event is our own.
Women are warriors, even history attests to this. From generation to generation, women have revolutionised what it means to be a woman. We have been able to do this by redefining standards of beauty for ourselves and society at large. By and large, we have stepped into industries that have been regarded “masculine” for the longest time. Although we still have a long way to go as far as representation is concerned, we are well on track.
I know many women do not believe in persevering for anything any more. However, I believe that as women, we have strong traits that deserve to be recognised and celebrated. For example, we have a such a natural resilient spirit. Granted we have a long way to go with representation but we still have women fighting for the current and next generation. This is one of the many ways that we have proven that resilience is our superpower.
Our womanhood is so broad that it can no longer be limited to motherhood, marriage or even careers. We are constantly evolving and embracing the growth that comes with that. What is especially worth celebrating is our ability to speak up for others, and sometimes ourselves. There is always that big sister one can rely on to speak up for you at work, at church, a few blocks away from your house, or simply in the street.
Speaking up for ourselves has not always been easy because, again, we put others before ourselves. It is for this reason, among others, that we fear speaking up against the same people that abuse us, but we always tell someone and ask them to keep mum about it. We overthink the consequences of speaking up about our experiences. More than anything, we fear the shame and judgement that comes with speaking up. We fear the labels, but we are by no means silent.
Adversity will continue to be the order of the day for as long we live. However, we should never allow that to dim our light. As women, we deserve it all and can have it all. Even better, we are it all. May we continue to be like fire; strong enough to burn, and soft enough to warm those around it.
Written by Selokela Molamodi, Activator and Conversationalist at Activate! Change Drivers