You are 1 now and growing very well. We currently live in South Africa, a beautiful country when you look at the landscape, but for me a very dangerous place, more so now that I have a daughter, when I look at it’s people.
The tone has been set for me, for Women’s Month this year (2018), by a march that I really wish I could attend but cannot, The Total Shutdown. A bunch of regular women got together to protest that there is nothing to celebrate about Women’s Month due to the high rate of Gender Based Violence in this country. Today I will not be buying anything from the stores in my own feeble attempt at support. In the future, I will take you to many marches, I promise you.
Mambo, I live in fear that I am raising a girl in this country with such high rates of rape- of young girls too! To tell you to be careful and to value yourself is just not enough, because I as your mother have a duty to protect you at any cost. As we are currently, there are crazy statistics like 40% of women in South Africa will be raped in their lifetime, and only 1 in 4 are reported to the police. Abductions are happening everyday of young women who are ultimately trafficked and never see their families again as they are taken to lands so far that no one can find them. I, your mother, was almost abducted a month ago, and all I could think of was that I would never see your smile again. I can tell you that although I licked my wounds, I live with a paranoia that I never had before that day. I never want you to feel that.
I have had encounters with boys and men who thought that it would be fun or appropriate to touch a part of my body, and I can tell you that I have been known to slap people across the face for that kind of disrespect. One or two times, I may not have been able to retaliate, having assessed my opponent and known that I would not survive the repercussions, and again, I licked my wounds. So many women have been through worse, and I pray that you are not one of those women. You will know these women, strong women who surround you, in your circle of love, and they have been through worse Mambo. So today I write this on behalf of all of us. Isn’t it crazy that I have to use words like retaliate, survive, repercussion, licking wounds? In 2018 we still do not have enough mutual respect for each others lives and deem it necessary to enforce power over each other in ways that hurt, that ruin, that KILL.
Did you know Mambo that even if someone touches you in a way that is suggestive and you are uncomfortable, that you can tell me, and I will believe you over anyone, everyday. Mambo, you can tell your dad, and he will believe you over anyone, everyday. Did you know Mambo, that if you cannot tell me or your dad for any reason in the world, that you can tell one of your mothers or fathers or uncles and aunts or your grandparents that we have provided for you in your life. Mambo, we will believe you. We will gather around you and we will never doubt you.
Today Mambo D, I feel quite militant because I am so tired of hearing reports in the news of another woman killed by her partner, I am tired of reading of another missing child found abused sexually and ultimately killed. I am tired of living a life where I am afraid to walk the streets because I am aware that you and I are of a certain age and therefore within a demographic which can be abducted to be sold for sex. I am tired of hearing of women and girls still, in 2018 being raped by their partners, uncles, brothers, tenants, family friends or strangers. Mambo, I am tired of remembering times in my own life where men or women (in the case of the abduction) should have known better than to think that my body was theirs too.
STOP killing our children and women! STOP raping our women and girls! STOP abducting our women and girls! STOP beating our women and children!
Mambo, I am tired of living in fear of my life and yours because we were born female.
I love you Mambo, and I will always do my best to protect you, with everything that I am.