OPINION: #RIP to yet another black woman

Karabo+Mokoena33


Columnist Thulani Gqirana weighs in on the recent death of Karabo Mokoena, domestic abuse and #MenAreTrash

“Another woman has died. Another black woman will not see her 30th birthday.

She will never have children, she will not get to spend time with her parents as they age.

She will not get a chance to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life, because a man decided she did not deserve to live.

Karabo Mokoena is dead. This beautiful young woman went missing at the end of April, and this week a man was arrested for the unthinkable crime.

And with that senseless act of violence, yet another South African woman has become a hashtag, a symbol of what is wrong with our society. And it has got to stop.

Another young woman is dead.

This bright young woman joins Nopinki Fuba, Anene Booysen, Nosipho Mandleleni, Noluvo Swelindawo, Thembeka Dumani, Reeva Steenkamp, and many other South African women who have died at the hands of men and become unwilling symbols of a violent patriarchal social system.

Some of these women died at the hands of men who said they loved them, just a little too much to let them go.
Maybe she provoked him, they say. Maybe she was leaving him, they surmise. Or maybe he was overwhelmed by an evil spirit, they say.

But this does not mean all men are evil, they are quick to tell us, as yet another family moans the death of a young woman taken way too soon.

As another father has the unimaginable task of identifying his once beautiful daughter in a mortuary. We are not all the same, they say, as yet more women head to court with placards asking for justice for yet another murder.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi explained it perfectly on Thursday.

“Men have grown accustomed to the violent abuse and murder of women. Only a culture that hates women would treat them with so much disdain and violence. This dominant and violent patriarchal order sustains itself with violent sexual harassment with rape at its centre It perceives women as possessions and tools for men’s sexual pleasure. It is founded on hatred of women, masculine inferiority complex and self-hate.

“It is a sad day indeed for young women in South Africa today. Fear of men increases, because from total strangers they meet on the streets and taxi ranks, to the loved ones who share intimate spaces with them; there is no safety.”

There is indeed no other way to explain this tragedy than to point to the dominant and violent patriarchal order in South Africa. Men have grown accustomed to the violent abuse and murder of women. Only a culture that hates women would treat them with so much disdain and violence. There is indeed no other way to explain this tragedy than to point to the dominant and violent patriarchal order in South Africa.

Let’s just make one thing clear. Today, tomorrow, next week is not the time for you to be defending yourself, black man. This is not the time for you to detail just how different you are from the perpetrators and how you would never stoop to that level.

No, this is not the time for you to tell us that not all #menaretrash, because today, right now, we are grieving yet another young woman’s passing at the hands of a man.

No, you can’t tell me how innocent you are when we still live in a society where a woman has to give herself a little pep talk before walking past a group of men, just in case.

Where men who don’t rape or hit women see nothing wrong with catcalling, because it’s just “harmless fun”.

Yes, not all men are trash. But we will keep saying it until we are heard.

Until women can be safe in and outside their homes. Until they can walk, run, club and go drinking without worrying about being raped, killed and and and. Until children are no victims of rape at the hands of their fathers, uncles, brothers and strangers.

Until the elderly women in remote villages can walk without fear of being sexually assaulted.

We will say it, until you stop hurting us.