Cry, the beloved country.
“The best of you are those who are best to your women.” – Prophet Muhammed ﷺ
I am upset.
I am angry.
I see humans but no humanity.
2nd September 2019 was a sad day for South Africa.
A nineteen year old UCT student, Uyinene Mrwetyana who went missing last week was confirmed dead. She was raped and killed by a forty two year old man who then dumped her body. She was fetching a parcel from the post office. When questioned by the police he said “yhuuu undisokolisile ke Lamntana. Ufe kade” which means “Wow hey this child gave me trouble. Took her forever to die”.
South African femicide is five times the global rate. FIVE TIMES MORE. This means that five more women are killed in South Africa than globally.
I’m usually the first in my family to fight about why the boys get to stay out until late, why the boys get to drive at night, why the boys don’t have to answer questions like they’re under interrogation: “Who are you going with?”, “Where are you going?” and “What time will you be back?” amongst others. I am the first person in my house to fight to be treated equal to the boys, to enjoy the same privileges that they enjoy, to be allowed the same freedom that they get. But, if the last two days have taught me anything, it’s that it can’t be that way.
I sense my dad’s fear for me when he sends a text asking where I am when I’m only a few minutes later than I said I would be. I see my grandfather’s fear when he constantly checks Life360 to see where I am. I hear my uncle’s fear for me when he warns me that men are dogs and not to trust any of them. I see my cousin’s fear for me when he checks on me when I’m out with my friends. I feel my friend’s fear for me when he drives behind me home to make sure I get home safe.
Since we started driving and going places on our own, my friends and I always say to each other, “text me when you’re home”. We tell our male friends the same thing and they find it so odd that we stress about them getting home safely. When we say it to them, there’s always a look on their face that asks “Why?”. They just don’t understand.
I read a post that said that there’s nothing more therapeutic than stopping at a red robot at night. All I thought was “not in South Africa”. Nothing makes me feel more unsafe than a red robot at night. Whether it’s 6 pm, 9 pm or 11 pm, if it’s dark outside, there’s a part of me that is filled with fear at the thought of being vulnerable at the red robot.
One of the most underrated blessings in our lives is getting home safely. It is the thing that we should be most thankful for. Because not everyone is that lucky. People go to work, to school, to university, to the mall, to restaurants, to the post office and they don’t make it home. They disappear and they’re never seen again. Sometimes, they’re found and returned in a casket. Other times, they’re found but they’re never the same again.
I never used to be afraid of the people around me. I am now terrified, as I’m sure many of you are. The question that plagues the mind of every woman in South Africa is “Am I next?” or an even worse and absolutely more heartbreaking one is “Is it me again?”.
It is estimated that over 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that only 1 in 4 rapes are reported. For the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, an average of 110 rapes were recorded by the police each day. In 2017/2018, a total of 2,930 women were murdered in South Africa. This means that the femicide rate was 15.2 murders per 100,000 women.
“We will fight. We must fight. So that the bruises of our fallen sisters, never become the blood of our daughters.” – oln
May Allah protect ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, our friends and every single woman who has to wake up to the sad reality of what it means to be a woman in a South African society.
Here’s to strong women.
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.