"When the safe space was created by the City I had very high hopes, but certain issues are left without having been dealt with," writes Danny Oosthuizen. Picture: City of Cape Town.
Last week our streets, pavements and parks were filled with women wearing black. Women who had had enough of rape and brutal murders. Enough. They came from all levels of society. They made themselves heard.

The country is in trouble deep

The way I see things: during the apartheid years many men had to leave home to come to the big cities like Joburg and find work.

The women were left behind in the rural areas and had to fend for themselves and their children.

They had to do “manly” things around the house and keep things in order.

Men only used to come back home over the festive season. Some sent money back home but this was not always the case.

Women had to improvise to survive.

Today, men are almost redundant.

They are no longer the providers, protectors and heads of the house.

And in many cases where a woman earns more than her male partner, the male ego gets a serious bruising.

Countless single mothers raise their children without any support from the fathers. As women progressed, the man’s role became a blur.

It is no longer a man’s world. We are equal.

It is complicated and complex. There is a passive-aggressive undertone by some men out there.

Then there are religious and cultural differences in how many men treat women.

In the world of homelessness one sees the alpha male loud and clear. At the end of the day women are abused, too.

I have seen men hitting women with their fists. It was as if they thought the women were male. For a woman, life on the streets is dangerous, and she becomes an easy target.

You have to form alliances just to get through the day.

I feel that the courts are far too lenient when judging rape and murder cases.

This does not seem to encourage these evil abusers to think twice before raping and killing innocent women and children.

What shocks me the most is the way these monsters kill.

So brutal.

Yet it is said these people were such good men in their communities.

Parents should start looking at their children’s actions and social behaviour.

It puzzles me at times when a youngster gets shot dead in cold blood for being a member of a rival gang and his mother is so naive to believe he was a “good” boy.

Our communities are bleeding. People are losing hope. Women are living in constant fear. Our little ones cannot even go play ball outside any more.

Some of our elderly people’s social grants are taken away from them at month’s end by those who exploit them, and they can do nothing about it.

I believe there is goodness in all people. And I believe the winds of change will blow for us. Things will get better. Our humanity will be restored.

All that it needed is for us to be courageous enough to be the change.

* Danny Oosthuizen is the ambassador of #TheDignityProject. In his weekly column for the Cape Argus he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus