LISTEN | 'Dear Mr President': SA's women speak about fear and GBV

19 June 2020 - 16:34 By Modiegi Mashamaite and Amina Deka Asma
Women share their experiences about living in South Africa.
Women share their experiences about living in South Africa.
Image: Twitter/EFF

In a recent televised national address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country was in the midst of two devastating pandemics, the coronavirus and what he described as the “war on women”.

He made the statement after the surge in fatal gender-based violence cases in the past few weeks.

Listen to the experiences of women in South Africa:

“Over the past few weeks, no fewer than 21 women and children have been killed in South Africa. These women are not just statistics. They have names, and they have families,” said Ramaphosa.

Lona Pupuma described being a woman in South Africa as "scary", and said the challenges faced by South African women today are challenges that began in their childhood years.

“Challenges that women face in South Africa start for them as young children, as young girls. It is the expectations that come with the way we are raised and expected to exist within society,” she said.

Koketso Mokwele and Mbali Mqeke said for any change to be seen in the country, the treatment of and respect for  women and children must be the starting point. 

Yanga Macingwane described being a woman in South Africa as "unsettling and uncomfortable".

“Women have to constantly justify their existence in South Africa. It is always a question of having to explain why a woman wears what she wants when she wants to wear it, why she can’t go to a certain place and just how a women should be - and this is all based on our proximity to men,” said Macingwane.

Kutlwano Ngoasheng said she wished that living in South Africa as a woman didn’t carry the constant feeling of having a target on one's back.

As a message to the leaders of the country, Lerato Morei said she wished the effort put into fighting the coronavirus would be the same effort put into fighting violence against women and children who are losing their lives.