Dr Robert ‘Mugabe’ Ngwenya reckons GBV is a national problem that requires all to be involved if it is to be defeated.
Once upon a time in Africa, women were venerated and worshiped as gods. Each time a man approached a pregnant woman, he would bow down in a sequestered position similar to that of an obsequious slave.
Woman occupied a pristine and a prestigious place of pride in the socio- political leadership of our ancient societies. Their nourishing, life giving and life bearing power was widely acknowledged and revered. How that has changed over time is mind boggling.
From the beginning of time, men have always hunted animals, they risked their lives to even hunt the most dangerous animals risking even to be devoured by lions just to bring their hunt for the bearers of our children.
What has happened to us as men that we now sully the good name of our women? What has happened for us to disfigure their beautiful faces and harm their sense of self worth? How has it come to a point that we even sexually violate and kill them?
As a man, having said the above, it would be immorally wrong not to speak about Gender-based violence to capture the essence that it not just about women. Whilst it is important to talk about women, it is also important for men to talk amongst themselves. That balance is often missed because of how men choose to employ their muscles even on issues that require brains, care and humility.
Violence is wrong. What is it that makes us this fearful, full of violence and less intelligent? Ironically, we are fearful because there is something inherently beautiful, truthful and good within each and everyone of us. That something is human dignity.
Architects, and our forebears, of our constitutional dispensation had the wisdom of enshrining human dignity as one of the kernel of our constitutional values. We, the people made a solemn pact that we shall both _”improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person”_ in the Preamble of our Constitution.
The scourge of gender based violence is a direct antithesis of unleashing the inherent potential in each and everyone of us. When we abuse, both physically and emotionally, and maim our close partners we are also abusing and killing ourselves.
Human dignity is Ubuntu. When we deny ourselves human dignity, when we deny our close partners their inherent human potential, it is the very us who suffer. An African religious philosopher John Samuel Mbiti capture this succinctly in the statement that _”I am because WE are and, since we are, therefore I am”_ . We will end gender based violence when we recognise that we are violating ourselves. We are denying ourselves something that is inherently beautiful, good and truthful about us.
When yours is to hurt me as a man because I may not react, know that I am part of nature and nature will react and affect my children. When you hurt a woman, the same results are likely to occur.
As we enter this important annual 16 days program to re-conscientise our people about the scourge of Gender based violence, let us remember… It is about every gender respecting the dignity of the other.
Gender based violence, in any form, is barbaric, inhumane, retrogressive and as the young would say, uncool.
It is very true that as humans, as we live and strive to make it for another day, with life’s challenges and difficulties, we are bound to want to protect ourselves and sometimes even to the detriment of those we seek to protect ourselves from. In doing so, we unwittingly appear or become animalistic to one another.
I therefore, with peace, take this time to apologize to every human, my children, my partner and those who may have felt emotionally and physically abused by my actions or inactions. In this vain, I challenge every human, every man and every woman to look deep within themselves, difficult as it may seem, to follow suit and apologize to those they may have abused in the process of this beautiful but yet difficult life.
Let us use things and love our fellow beings. May we overcome loving things at the expense of our love for our fellow beings.