I often wonder if Heaven is the only place a woman will find peace, or if even the streets paved with gold will be reserved for men only; writes Marungwane “Shadi” Ramashapa.
You will zig-zag the streets, trying to avoid the pathways littered with groups of men. Either seated or standing, they will always try start a conversation. They will always try to stroke their egos with your fear. Show them none.
You will be told you are too beautiful to be brilliant. Told that on your back and knees is your only route to success. Your daughter will be told the same. Prove them wrong.
You will cradle their insecurities in-between your thighs. They will lie in your arms as you mend their broken souls. They will wake up to body shame you. Slut shame you with the boys. They will then go to church to find themselves wives. Stop trying to make men out of boys.
They will attempt to police your attire, your drinking and the number of men who call you home. You will be told you asked for it. You will be told that you are lucky to have been chosen. Don’t let them take your soul too, continue to slay.
You will be told that you over exaggerate your pain. They will tell you that it cannot possibly be that difficult to be you. They will say you are far too sensitive. They will ask you if you are having your period. Not everyone will understand you and that is okay too.
You will receive another half-baked apology. You will be expected to understand. You will be told to ‘bekezela’. You will be asked to ignore the fact that your home is now a glass house with fear constantly banging on its walls. Move, you are not a tree.
There will always be something. There is a constantly sounding siren in the air that only women seem to hear. There is always a call for alertness. I often wonder if Heaven is the only place a woman will find peace, or if even the streets paved with gold will be reserved for men only. Perhaps we give men too much credit, too much control of how we live our lives as women. Perhaps it is up to us not to only create safe spaces, but to be safe spaces. We need to teach ourselves and our daughters how to stand our ground. We need to train. We need to learn to defend ourselves. We need to be strong, even in our femininity. Adapt or Die.
Marungwane “Shadi” Ramashapa [@Thee_Shadi] is a Masters candidate at the University of Johannesburg. Her interests lie in social development and governance. She also uses writing, arts and poetry in achieving a sustainable society.