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Why all these murders of women?

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“Curiosity killed the cat”. It is a witty expression that demonstrates man’s creative capacity in sentence formation. That should not scare you from turning every stone to find answers to the little questions you have always had in your head.

For a black child, an African child to be precise, the question “why” is culturally, traditionally and morally forbidden and I dare you to take back that “why” you just whispered because “ngoana oa Mosotho ha a botse hobane eng”.

Well this is another cultural perception that comes with being black and showing respect to the elders. Speaking of the forbidden “why” question, I recently asked my boss “why” is it that we refer to countries or states as female? We call them the Motherland. This question was ignited by an article I was proofreading for one of the issues and so I thought to put the internet to rest and pick a brainer from someone African too. This is because oftentimes it is African countries that are given the feminine reference.

The brief explanation I got after my query was very much interesting and I thought to myself, maybe I should do some research on this. And once again we will be talking patriarchy but today, unlike all the other times, with a dash of matriarchy. Like all other borrowed words, matriarchy is a Latin word meaning “mother” (obviously) or to rule. This, in Latin, is a social system where women have more power in a community than men. For women in matriarchal societies, studies have proven that women are happier and healthier than women living in patriarchal societies.

But is this really the case and true especially in countries like Lesotho and South Africa among many others? With an estimated (please note this is not research based) 5/10 women being killed daily in countries where women are supposed to have increased autonomy, excellent social support within the community and an upper or equal hand to men? Should we therefore still consider these countries motherlands or is it high time we switched labels because some men are practically on an elimination contest to wipe women off the face of the earth?

Motherland and Fatherland generally refer to one’s native country. These terms however are used depending on the culture and language of the nationality in question and are a nationalist perception as in they are reminiscent of emotions related to family ties and links them to national identity and devotion. Nations are often regarded as either motherland, fatherland or homeland and this is also just a matter of cultural choice.

This also comes down to cultural or traditional norms whereby we first look between a woman and man who holds the most power and who heads everything hence matriarchal society where a woman is a leader, patriarchal society where a man leads and homeland where sexuality does not play any important role for as long as there is order and serenity. Therefore, to refer to one’s country as a fatherland in what I will call the usual patriotic context simply means the nation of one’s father.

And to refer to a country as a motherland would mean where they were born and raised regardless of where they came from, that is their forefathers land.
But generally speaking, whether one refers to their country as motherland or fatherland is a matter of cultural, traditional or personal choice. But besides these three again, many languages and cultures have for years personified the earth as female.

Now my main concern about these notions of personifying countries comes to these questions:

  • Just this past week, how many obituaries of women from motherland countries were killed in cold blood did you come across while surfing the internet?
  • Just this past week, how many men stood before the courts of law in motherland countries on counts of murder of women? The same goes for rape cases and other gender based violence cases too.

And all in motherland countries.

In an ideal motherland country, a woman was a powerful human being. She could carry all the community’s weight on her shoulders and never break any bones because powerful and strong best defined her.

In an ideal motherland country, a woman was treasured, cared for and protected because what is a home without her? But in our modern motherland countries a woman is a threat that should be eliminated and a prey that should be hunted and killed.

Now my question is: Why are women being killed at this high rate?

Bokang Masasa

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