By god, stop the holocaust

I cannot believe that a young life has been lost again.

I am devastated; debilitated even.

But it is not a war we can afford to lose. COVID-19, has nothing on Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

So long as our children, our mothers, and our sisters are being butchered, we must fight on. My heart bleeds for the family of the young lady slain at Tsholofelo East.

How some men still have the fortitude to commit these heinous acts, in spite of the national outcry surrounding GBV, is a mystery.

This sickness must be dealt with resolutely. It is a pandemic at the scale of COVID-19, if not worse, and the government must stop treating it as a sideshow.

It is what it is; a pandemic. That the suspect handed himself to the police, afterwards, is a realization that he knew the gravity of the societal outrage that would follow, and felt rather safe in the hands of the police.

It attests to the fact that perpetrators of this scourge are in fact, cowards. There is no strength in killing. A man who needs to show strength must join the army, attend a gym or join a boxing club where he can pit his strength against those who have similar passion.

He would find glory waiting for him on the other side. Killing women and doing GBV generally, is cowardice.

When I was growing up, men stood guard over their clansmen and clanswomen. It is a role I still play. It was nobility to defend your younger brothers and sisters and all that you were related to.

I do not pretend that there was no domestic violence. I only say that the men’s physical strength had a clear purpose; to save, and not to kill. There is a reason why we need to move headlong to address this scourge.

God forbid that we should see that day when the people lose confidence in the capacity or willingness of society to defend their own. Something tells me, we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.

People will start taking the law into their own hands and will start avenging their own. There will be chaos at a scale never before seen.

And yet, there is another reason why we should stop GBV. The scourge seems to have affinity to the male line. What it means is that we are dealing with the scourge whilst at the same time we are passing the problem to the next generation.

It is an exercise in futility, unless we move to ensure that the next generation is safe from all the prejudices and vices that make men kill. A friend blames patriarchy. I do not know if patriarchy has everything to

do with the problem, but I will readily concede that it has a lot to do with it. At the risk of overgeneralisation, when a man says, “mosadi wame”, he is in part arguing a property right as opposed to a simple, voluntary association between two consenting adults.

It is for the very same reason, that a man would kill another because he slept with his wife or girlfriend or kill the girlfriend or wife for sleeping with other men.

Patriarchy has turned women into property, resulting in a misplaced but real sense of entitlement amongst us, men.

Yet, when a woman says “monna wame”, the emphasis is mainly on the relationship. That is perhaps, why women are able to accept break-ups and do not readily resort to killing and to the selfish thinking that “if I can’t have them, no one will have them”.

There is need for men to understand that women are not property, and that intimate relationships are nothing but voluntary associations from which every party can opt out just as they can opt in.

As it is, the only safe woman is one who is not dating. Once a woman accepts a man’s love proposal, she has mortgaged herself and potentially signed her own death warrant.

The very foundation of our intimate relationships is all warped up.

To be sure, I have represented women who have killed. But that has been one in, perhaps, fifty.

I have prosecuted and defended, women who have killed their newly-born babies, and who have scalded their husbands or boyfriends with boiling water or meted out other forms of violence.

Some women come out as gravely abusive, both emotionally and physically. That is why a qualitative approach is needed, in order that the problem can be completely obliterated.

The problem is not all about patriarchy. Statistically though, such have been a drop in the ocean compared to violence on women by men.

Through the eyes of a prosecutor, and now, a defence attorney, I have seen femicide, at a holocaust scale. And then again, there are many countries, equally if not more patriarchal, which cannot hold a candle to us in this un-abating holocaust.

The enquiry must be qualitative and must be deep.

I am a father of three girls, and an uncle to many. They are growing bigger by the day, and soon they will plunge headlong into the murderous pool of love relationships. We have a duty as men, to defend our own.

And it all begins with a duty, not to do violence on women who have given us their trust and accepted to share their lives with us. 

Chief On Friday



Proposed law against sex offenders

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