In response to a critic of V-Day

OBR-logo-englishI read with dismay the article V-Day stands for… vapidity by Marelise van der Merwe in Daily Maverick, which dismisses the One Billion Rising campaign on 14 February 2013 as a mere “step, step twirl.”

On 14 February, “One Billion Rising” will take place – also known as the main project of the V-Day initiative. It’s a celebrity-endorsed attempt to get a billion activists worldwide to take part in a choreographed dance to end rape. The trouble is, it’s got bugger-all to do with rape at all. And it’s unlikely to achieve anything, either.

It’s a rather unfortunate, low snipe at both the event organizers and the potential participants. I happen to know some of the local event organizers and I can confirm with conviction that they’re not just looking for an opportunity to sway their hips for a few hours, in a bid to move “beyond armchair activism.” I happen to know that they’re actively involved in various initiatives to address violence against woman, gender equality and the patriarchal culture that dominates society.

It’s not just about protesting against rape as Marelise alleges. It is so much more. And it’s a much more civilized way to express outrage, than forming mobs and burning and looting, as is the norm with many protests around the world.

It’s no mean feat getting one billion people around the world to rise up and protest against oppression and violence in a coordinated effort. And to accuse these people of being vacuous and misguided is pretty shallow. Surely Marelise doesn’t think these people are stupidly expecting their protest to magically end the scourge of rape?

This campaign is meant to raise awareness which will hopefully go a long way to encourage greater participation in some of the good material suggestions Marelise herself mentions in her article. Because… silence is an act of complicity.

Angie Motshekga: An awful example to women everywhere

I really meant to title this post “A women who should neither be seen nor heard.” But that would have been truly awful…

Let it be known that I would be proud to be called a feminist. I strongly support gender equality and care about gender issues. I truly feel for women who invariably have to work twice as hard, if not harder, to earn the respect that men get for doing little or nothing. It’s a shitty, lopsided world – where women have to prove themselves daily.

And it shouldn’t have to be like that.


But when a woman has been entrusted with a position of power, a position of national importance, and then proceeds to make light work of totally fucking things up, then I have to speak up yet again – in the interests of those directly affected and for good woman everywhere who make a success of their position against major odds. Such a woman is Angie Motshekga, the South African Minister for Basic Education.

Not only has Angie set education back many years in South Africa, she continues to blunder ahead with an arrogance that will put many men to shame. No doubt Angie has ample talents, but furthering the interests of education in post-apartheid South Africa, is most certainly not one of them. She seems to have the knack for stumbling from one crisis to another, the latest being her Ministry’s failure to ensure that more than 64 500 teaching positions are filled in one Province alone.

This act alone while being extremely detrimental to the educational needs of South Africa’s children, should be declared as criminal. How her gross incompetence is allowed to continue in a country having what we are assured is a democracy, is beyond comprehension.

Angie Motshekga also serves as the leader of the ANC Women’s League, an organization whose relevance in a modern society is rather dubious, when for most intents and purposes, they seem to serve only as the cheering section for the glut of incompetent men in the ANC government. A recent report in the Sunday Independent suggests that this wing of the ANC, much like the ANC Youth League, is in some disarray. Another report in the Daily Maverick suggests that the ANC Women’s League under Angie are “slavishly loyal to the ANC at the expense of women’s rights.”

Angie’s recent call for action against patriarchy was rather hollow considering her die-hard support for President Jacob Zuma, who’s undoubtedly an icon of this reprehensible social malaise in South Africa. The recent furore over the Spear painting highlighted this fact most convincingly.

In short, Angie is a pathetic example to good women everywhere. One hopes that she is removed from the spotlight before she does more damage to both our education system and the plight of women.