We Will No Longer Be Silenced in the War on Women’s Bodies

BY   Mamello Sejake  |  PUB   OkayAfrica 

In the op-ed below, Mamello Sejake discusses the war on women’s bodies in South Africa and taking part in yesterday’s silent protest at Wits University in Johannesburg.
Most days, before I get dressed, I have to ask myself how much I can take. On days when the answer is “not much,” I’ll change what I’m wearing because the simple act of walking through town in shorts or a low-cut top adds too much to my burden. There are times, too many times actually, when I’ve felt dirty and disrespected by the harassment I’ve had to stomach outside, or that I’ve had to pretend my fear doesn’t exist while walking past a group of men whose lustful gazes I couldn’t escape.

By occupying the female form, whether you like it or not, and irrespective of how brave you are, you are constantly at risk of becoming a casualty in the war against women’s bodies.

I come from a lineage of strong women who kicked down doors and called bullshit on the belief that certain jobs and spaces are solely for men. We’re lightyears ahead of our ancestors. Yet despite their unrelenting efforts,, many women––even those with fire in their eyes––continue to stand merciless at the hands of gender-based violence.



University of the Witwatersrand
SOUTH AFRICAN PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY, JOHANNESBURG
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. It is more commonly known as Wits University. The university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, it is the third oldest South African university in continuous operation, after the University of Cape Town (founded in 1829), and Stellenbosch University (founded in 1866).

In 1959, the Extension of University Education Act forced restricted registrations of black students for most of the apartheid era; despite this, several notable black leaders graduated from the university. It was desegregated once again prior to the abolition of apartheid in 1990. Several of apartheid’s most provocative critics, of either European or African descent, were one-time students and graduates of the university.

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