ɪɴꜰᴏʀᴍᴇᴅ ꜱᴛᴀɴᴅ ᴏɴ ᴡᴏᴍᴇɴ’ꜱ ꜱᴇxᴜᴀʟ ʀᴇᴘʀᴏᴅᴜᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ ʀɪɢʜᴛꜱ
I came to the world via South Africa, where I spent the first fourteen-and-half years of my life, June 1960-January 1975. As I get older and older for each new year that comes and goes, the impact that growing up in that country has had on my fundamental views of life becomes ever more glaring. That as I strive to make sense of the multitudinous manifestations of horrendous sociological choices outcomes in the world today. In that sense, I was born at the right place, in my time.
The horrendous sociological choices outcomes I mention above arising from apparent mental derangement states in which some of our national and global political leaders thrive as they pathetically engineer society to perpetual dysfunctionality. They think out, formulate, and work to impose outrageous rules and laws that are obviously detrimental to the well-being of society. In fact, these lunatics present an existential threat to human and other life on earth. This as evidenced by national social upheavals owing to ever degenerative leadership quality across the world.
Social collapse attendant to dominant degenerate ethico-political leadership characteristically culminate in civil and international wars, ill-management of potential and actual natural catastrophes, including pandemics. The current Covid-19 pandemic is supposed to have given the world a wake-up call. Of course, this is an outlandish idea to many a national-global leader, and, not in the least, a segment of the new socio-cultural influencer class at the same scale. The latter extensively prevalent in the vast and ever so rapidly growing internet social media platforms sphere.
In the world today, Rocket Science knowledge is not a pre-requisite for the ability to pinpoint where on the globe the scum of society are all out to deprive people of the right to live free and happy in the abundance of survival resources existence provides for all. It’s all on Google. It’s all in the news. If you read and/ listen to conspiracy theories news publications, you are no different from the scum of the earth. Wretched souls beyond redemption. Shame.
Growing up in South Africa, I was from an early age mentally conditioned that I might at some point have to sacrifice my schooling opportunities for the benefit of my younger sister, Sisi. Prime assumption being that misfortune could somehow befall my parents. In that event, they would eventually fail to finance my siblings’ and I’s education, caught up in the doldrums of endemic Black South Africans’ poverty-stricken existence.
Seen from a global human perspective, parenting and all that it entails is what it is by default. It is not my intention to want to trivialize the challenges of parenting elsewhere. But parenting in the then inherently doomed, dysfunctional, systemically racist Apartheid South Africa was an arduous, unpredictable endeavour for Black people: unemployment, disease, violence, rampant sudden death. Other than the new faces on drivers’ seats of post-Apartheid South African socio-economic transformation state machinery, not much has changed for the masses of the underprivileged in the country, though.
It was never difficult for me to understand that in the event that some tragedy would befall my parents, especially my father, I’d have to stop schooling, go find work, and earn some money to continue where they’d have left to financially support the family. The idea that I’d defy the misfortune fate of my people had already been long engrained in my head. Therefore, it wasn’t accidental that my mother encouraged me to earn my own pocket money by selling oranges on the streets during school holidays. I was ten years old the first time. Three years later, 1973, I landed my first ever formal employment job as a junior waiter at a then Whites Only Italian Restaurant in my hometown, Welkom.
I’m still alive. With variable rates of success over the years, I have lived to fulfill my obligations as a supportive elder brother to my two surviving siblings from my mother. Owing to circumstances beyond my control, I haven’t been able to be there for my half-siblings from my father’s other procreative endeavours exterior to my mother, prior to or after their marriage.
Any fool ought to know by now that education is a historically powerful facilitatory tool to appreciable degrees of progressive participation in, and gain from socio-economic activities of our modern, digital age global society. Indeed, some guys with all the luck and some other special attributes will become economically and politically high and mighty without having gone far by way of academic education attainment. These may or may not be partners in crime vis-à-vis upliftment or destruction of society.
The unabashed manifestation and relentless growth of misogyny in the later years of my life boggle my mind. That’s because I grew up aware that upon having weighed the options in time, it was a trend in my neighbourhood that priority was given to pushing girls to acquire as much education as possible. The girls could be nurses and teachers when grown up. Costs of more specialized education in medicine, engineering, and other such related fields of academic or professional training were prohibitive. This fact, combined with generally demotivating Apartheid state policies towards Black education, created a major barrier for my people’s pursuit of higher education ambitions.
It made sense to empower girls because, ideally, they grew up to be mothers of the nation, starting with their respective family units. An educated girl subsequently getting married to a well-bred young man was worth gold to her family. In my then community’s perfect world within the context of the imperfect Apartheid world then, boys having sacrificed their own education for their sisters could always come back and continue schooling once their sisters had at least completed pre-university studies. If the plan didn’t succeed, the boys would simply continue working, get married, have children, and see the latter go through the same cycle of sacrifices with little prospects of sustainability in practice.
From my generation in my childhood neighbourhood in Thabong, Welkom, I don’t know of even a single girl that ever obtained at least full high school education level. Although possibly true in some instances, this is not necessarily mainly a result of family economic constraints nor personal cognitive inadequacies.
My only concern, if not fear, about the idea of me delaying my academic advancement for my younger sister’ sake was the potential of her getting pregnant whilst still at school. In that case, that’d be the end of dreams, for both of us, of a better life derived from well-paying jobs education aspiringly led to. Experience showed that once the boys entered the labour market, not many ever got the opportunity to continue with their educational ambitions later on as life progressed.
If anything, the boys would also soon make other girls pregnant and then get caught in the trap of lasting poverty as they get overwhelmed by economic hardships of their own. Paradoxically, once a young girl got pregnant, that was it: she was finished. No more school. Never. As a general observation, which to a large extent remains true to this day, early age pregnancy totally destroyed girls’ lives. The situation would be worse if the impregnator refused to take responsibility for looking after or supporting the immature mother-to-be.
My mother-tongue, Sesotho, is the most disparaging, derisive language I know. In Sesotho, a young girl getting pregnant is described as ‘o senyehile’. It means that ‘she is destroyed’. And she’ll be treated as such by both her family and the community. She’s brought shame not only to the family but everyone around her. At worst, she’d be treated with much disrespect. Boys and men now seeing her as cheap, and, therefore, reduce her to a readily available sexual object moving forward. Consent not a concept adhered to by the male sex predators in this case. Many a girl’s life have been destroyed this way, culminating in suicides in the extreme.
‘O ntshitse mpa’ translates as ‘She has taken out the stomach’. Abortion is described as ‘Ho ntsha mpa’ in Sesotho, therefore. Graphically, ‘Ho ntsha mpa’ as a process means ‘to remove the stomach’. Consequently, I’ve since my childhood days associated abortion with excruciating physical pain for the girls concerned. As I grew older in my mid-late teens, I began to be cognizant of, and think independently on ethical and moral issues. It was at this point that I concluded lastingly that regardless of the circumstances prevailing around a pregnancy, it must be an extremely tortuous decision for a woman to choose to terminate it.
As a firmly held philosophical stand-point, I concluded that it took much resolve and courage for a woman to choose to endure the physical and emotional pain that abortion necessarily entails. This is one area in which I feel and think that women manifest magnanimity deserving the highest and unreserved admiration. To force a woman to carry to the full a pregnancy that’s uncontestably detrimental to her physical and mental health, if not life threatening, ought to be the crime.
Abortion as a medically defensible procedure to safeguard and enhance the well-being of women in the living ought to be a right understood from a woman’s perspective. Stupid old men who have no practical idea at all about what it takes and feels to be pregnant and subsequently give birth must stay out of promulgating laws that interfere with women’s sexual reproductive health rights. Anti-abortion women dancing to the tunes of stupid conservative old and young men are traitors against their own kind. These women need help. When one woman appallingly postulates that another woman can opt for abortion at the point of actual birthing, it suggest some serious mental imbalance issues. Another one is about women aborting children already born. Jeeezzuzzz!!!
July 25, 2022