August 2018 seems destined to be recorded in history as the epoch of the demise of the modern Neanderthal Man, the perpetrator of gender-based violence (GBV).
He will remember this as a period where he found it particularly difficult to prey on innocent women without any backlash from law enforcement officers or from society itself.
On August 1, the #TotalShutdown march gave us a sneak preview of what women, united behind their one key cause, can achieve.
Ten years after the patriarchal leadership of Jacob Zuma, a sitting president had to come out from behind the Ivory Towers to hear the women and offer an apology for the abuse that has gone on for too long.
The dignity that Fezeka Ntsukela Kuzwayo could not achieve in real life was bestowed upon her when this new generation of Kuzwayos marched on the Union Buildings to hand down a memorandum with a list of 24 demands.
Fezeka’s tale of woe has been immortalised in the arts in Redi Tlhabi’s book, Khwezi, and the stage play, Say My Name, by Napo Masheane, adapted from Tlhabi’s book.
Rhodes University student Khensani Maseko, who committed suicide two weeks ago after allegedly being raped by her ex-boyfriend in May, will not have died in vain if the pace of the march against gender-based violence is anything to go by.
Those who died before her, such as Karabo Mokoena and Anene Booysen, are looking on from yonder as the women take the fight to the enemy, the rapist, misogynist abuser who thinks no is a shorthand for permission granted.
It has certainly not been an easy month to be Mduduzi Manana, former deputy minister of higher education and training, whose favourite pastime seems to have been bashing women.
He was this week pulled from a speakers’ panel for a gender-based violence fund-raiser for GBV in the Eastern Cape.
Even former Kwaito star Bricks found the going tough when at a music concert recently. Although he is out on bail after appealing his rape charge, his appearance was met with outrage by some women who felt that he doesn’t deserve a place in the sun.
Some took to Twitter to express their anger that our newspaper even wrote an article about the Bricks performance.
These examples show that women have been pushed to breaking point and are adamant that it is enough and no more.
All you need do is listen to the likes of Andile Gaelesiwe call out abusers to get a sense of how fierce the fight against the abuse has become.
She calls for an offender register and a basket of other punitive measures for the abuser.
With such an onslaught against these perpetrators’ sick ways, all such a man can do is go hide or mend his ways.
Also, the sombre atmosphere in Cape Town at the official launch of Womens’ Day on Thursday, as opposed to the celebratory mood that prevailed in the past two decades, is testimony to how government has finally realised that “the assault on our women has reached unprecedented levels” as President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
We also welcome Ramaphosa’s announcement that government will host a national gender summit on August 31. Hopefully, “all the men in towns, small and large, in cities, in homes, in schools, in colleges, in universities, in parks and open spaces, will realise that a war is being waged in South Africa for women’s rights to security and equality”.
Hopefully this message from Ramaphosa will spread to all these communities and some day violence against women and children will be a thing of the past for our beloved country.