I AM KHWEZI
My story does not start where yours begins, my story starts where it ends because mine is a curse that started the day I was born as a woman in South Africa because I am Khwezi. I am no myth, I am no conspiracy and I am no political fantasy of someone trying to get more power than they deserve. My crime, I was born a woman in the one place that does not respect me for who I am. Sigh!
I am not a hashtag, I breathe, I laugh, I sing, l dance and like you I feel pain, I bleed and I hurt. Why do you not see it? Is it because I am Khwezi that to you am as good as dirt, lower than that white stuff which comes out when you step on a cockroach. It is often said that the most dangerous thing for a woman to do in South Africa is to walk out of the door in the morning but they are wrong because even in your own home your uncle, brother or father can feel that he wants to have you so long as he can have his 5 minutes of pleasure.
My protest is not silent, I am weeping, and I am screaming so loudly my throat hurts but no one is listening for why should they, you have reduced me to just another number. Why would they if they are the ones that stand to benefit from me being on my back by force or by their money? Why should they care for I am Khwezi? Being a child is no protection in a country where there are men that think a virgin can cure illness. Everyday a child goes missing and on social media we retweet to help find her but way too many times that child is found violated, brutalized and already dead.
I am not one in three #1in3, I am one in all but you don’t see it because I should be a nameless statistic, yet another number in their books that why it does not matter because to them I should be nameless but I am Khwezi. I don’t blame you though because we are so many so why would you bother remembering us all. How strong are you when you beat up a woman? You know the thud a fist makes when it touches her flesh, that sound, does it make you hard? When she begs forgiveness for something she didn’t even do, do you feel like a god? When you push my head into the ground, rip off my panties, take your thing and penetrate me dry do my screams not make you feel anything. How merciless and ruthless are you that it brings you satisfaction? Can you imagine the pain and the humiliation I feel when you are done and I stand up and have to pull my torn panties back up to try and hide the little dignity you have left me with. Do you even know what shame is when I limp away, the pain making it hard for me to walk but you smile because you got what you wanted, you taught me a lesson and you are the man!
On Woman’s Day they ask us to come out and celebrate but what is it that I am cheering for because if I am rich I get justice if I am poor and powerless I am Khwezi. No one cares. Our mothers dress so nicely in their green and black, tell me I am MBOKODO but they celebrate the very men and cheer-lead for them forgetting my suffering and my name. Not one of them dares name their child Khwezi because as long as it is not theirs that is violated we can look the other way. I watched in shock when they cried me a Reeva yet when my name Khwezi was announced they were the first to crucify me. Imagine your own mother not even giving me the benefit of the doubt because a black girl child means absolutely nothing when men with power come into the picture.
They tell me it’s a small price to pay to allow men to touch me and sleep with me so I can get a job that I qualified for. We studied together, in the same class, all those late nights but I have to go the extra mile to get employed be it on my knees or on my back. They tell me that a real woman’s hustle includes how low she can pull down her panties and how low you can bend over simply because I am Khwezi.
I am a South African, I am the mother of your children, the sister you grew up fighting with, the daughter you should give away come their wedding day, the woman you will want to marry someday, the one you should honour and protect but look at me now, I am reduced to a life of fear because I am Khwezi! Is this it? Is this what life should be if you have breasts? Is the some of my worth how I can pleasure you? You and you alone know the price of my enslavement; you and you alone know that I am not good enough to be equal to you.
The doctors just told me I am pregnant. I should be the happiest person alive at this moment. I am crying I can’t help it. The tears won’t stop for I am already asking myself ‘What have I done?” The father of my child immediately said it’s not his and told me I cheated. He walked away and now I am all alone. I intend to keep my child but already I am praying. I am praying a silent prayer… Let my child not be a girl! This country is too vicious and I will never forgive myself if something happens to her but what can I do? I am just Khwezi so who am I to complain.
My name is Khwezi, your name is Khwezi, and we are Khwezi!
Nokukhanya Zama (15)
Letty Wapad (24)
Anene Booysen (17)
(Please Google them)