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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD 2020

By Joy Ndwandwe | 2020-10-18

This year’s theme, my voice, our equal future resonated with my appreciation to Honourable Justice Qinisile Mabuza, ‘Judge QC’ for reminding us of the liberal side of Swati society.

Over the years, this country has been obsessed with perfecting an imperfect image of being a conservative society. Thus, Judge QC’s statement of legalising abortion was the balancing act this society needed in the interest of social cohesion. Evidently, raising the awareness and awakening on how this society must face the reality on how abortion is part of the cultural dynamics of this kingdom. Moreover, in my two cents, abortion is occurring in noble, poor, rich, Christian, traditional and across all sectors of the kingdom.

Evidently, Justice Mabuza’s statement emerged as a source of wisdom and knowledge, while we are all burying our heads in the sand like tortoise pretending abortion does not exist. Traditional healers will attest to how abortion is ancient, as during their floor x-ray, they would diagnose their clients lost children. They would ask the number of children, when a client for instance says four, they would ask where is the fifth child? Unmistakably, their indigenous diagnostic tools have the ability to detect the number of children living and departed, as they would advise their clients to give a name to the aborted child, pacifying their spirit. Thus, abortion or kucitseka kwesisu, is as ancient as life, imagine how many unborn children were lost during the Abantu migration in those uncharted terrains.           

                                     

My Voice

Voices of girl children are suppressed and struggling even during this 21st Century as patriarchy continues to be embedded within cultural dynamics while affirmed by western religion and education. The voices of children born out of wedlock is suppressed and they are struggling to affirm their place in both paternal and maternal family, as these children experience conditional love. Yet, their birth is scripted by Divine Love of God, and unscripted by marriage or teka certificates of their parents. One wonders, which God people pray to when they suppress the voices of children born out of wedlock, as they are conceived by Divine Intervention like all children. Moreover, in the Biblical context, I have failed to find a verse that speaks of the wedding between the Virgin Mary and Joseph, thus, Jesus Christ was born through immaculate conception without a marriage certificates. Earthly scripts have been written for the girl child, suppressing her voice as her life plans are incised to stroke the egos of powerful earthly institutions. Whether they are governments, churches, families, communities, civil societies and social institutions, they have become experts on the girl child. Thus, suppressing their voices since their birth was in accordance with definitive rules stroking egos of earthly institutions embroiled in perfecting an imperfect image. Evidently, how the girl child feels is immaterial, as the scripted world masks its imperfections through earthly institutions such as school, marriage and not partnership as the successful script. The girl child submits to her husband towards achieving the successful scripted marriage celebrated in religious institutions irrespective of her husband’s gay tendencies or incapability for faithfulness.

Therefore, this suppression within the earthly institution of marriage is scripted to marginalise the voice of the girl child, thus, inhibiting her ability to share her story. The girl child’s voice is struggling in her marriage to a gay or unfaithful man, and she cannot use her voice as the earthly script requires her to remain perfect in an imperfect marriage. This girl child could be a lesbian, however, she must live according to the earthly script of being married, thus suppressing her sexual orientation to stroke egos of earthly institutions, eroding dignity and equality.      

                                                                                                               

Our Equal Future

On Monday I conducted an interview eGumeni indigenous learning space for nurturing the girl child, with Nosipho Mabuza, a researcher, at Mantenga Cultural Village. Thus, providing me with a reflective opportunity on how much knowledge has been lost with regards to the indigenous context eroded by modernity. Particularly, the tour guide Babe John Malindzisa explained each space within the homestead, entsangweni, emphundvwini, and esibayeni. Moreover, how gender balance was contextualised within the homestead, providing appropriate learning spaces such as eSibayeni, eSibuyeni and eGumeni. Consequently, our equal future requires revisiting our equal past embedded within indigenous knowledge that affirmed the girl and boy children’s rightful place in society. Our equal future is subjugated by the patriarchy we celebrate within cultural dynamics, western religion and education, and this deserves to be in the dustbin of history.

We are continuously contextualising our culture within the confines of patriarchy, standing as feminists and fighting for our equality. When we originate from feminine power nurtured from eSibuyeni, grandmother’s cooking areas, where the girl child is prepared while the boy child is prepared esangweni. The family’s moral leader and matriarchy, grandmother, is tasked with nurturing girl children on their moral roles and responsibilities. Thus, egumeni, the primary institution that affirms the girl child in her rightful position within the context of feminine power rooted in future morality. Thus, affirming the girl child with feminine power to contribute towards the secondary institution, chiefdom, and nationally through umcwasho and umhlanga celebrating chastity and self-preservation.

This is not toxic femininity it is feminine power, while the boy child is being affirmed in his rightful position as a boy towards manhood endowed with masculine power and not toxic masculinity. Our equal future requires humbling ourselves to unlearn patriarchy to detox, toxic femininity and masculinity, as this is marginalising and subjugating gender equality. The future lies in our willingness to learn how the indigenous context is not our enemy but our source for the future. However, this indigenous context must be researched to be integrated with modernity, thus, ensuring our future is equality. There’s a need to eliminate the current gender wars in the name of patriarchy, which has no place in our society, like racial discrimination and racism, it belongs in the dustbin of history. 

                                                                              

Conclusion

As a member of Swati liberal society and research of indigenous knowledge towards its integration with modernity, I support the legalizing of abortions as illegal abortions are killing the girl child. In our generation and previous generations illegal abortions killed many a girl and, some of us survived by God’s grace, therefore, it would be irresponsible to continue burying our heads in the sands like hypocrites. Legalising abortion is a leadership and governance call, and this has nothing to do with religious convictions as leaders lead the conservatives, liberals and traditionalists towards social cohesions.  Statistics and reports have been written on illegal abortions and their consequences, our leadership can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand.

The girl child must not tolerate patriarchy as it is not indigenous, it originates from missionaries and colonialism, infiltrated within cultural dynamics through western religion and education. I implore girl children to rebel inorder to transform this country when you chose to be unscripted as this country needs liberals, conservatives and traditional towards social cohesion. If the girl child chooses to be scripted, she should enjoy marriage as partnership and not be submissive, as this will silence her voice. This nation needs all voices, scripted and unscripted, to achieve peace and sustainable development, thus, the girl child must have their firm place in society rooted in their indigenous context. All girls have voices and deserve equality for their future to reflect the Divine Plan within their souls, whether they are born within marriage or teka certificates, they are God’s blessings and future generations. 

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