By Njabulo Dlamini | 2019-03-16
It can no longer be ignored that the girl child is not safe anymore anywhere under this planet. Whether it’s the workplace, in the community or at school, there is literally nowhere to hide for the feminine character.
The scourge of abuse is so prevalent that even a little child can attest that Eswatini and several neighbouring countries, if not beyond, are now unsafe for the girl child.
So much that leaving a female at the hands of a male relative is dangerous these days of unpredictability. The worse might happen to them and you’ll live to regret this decision. So, what is the way out of this precarious situation?
Locally, even the enactment of the long awaited Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act last year has not done much to deter delinquents from preying on the defenceless and innocent females. This is despite that the Act ushers in a new era of punitive measures that should have ordinarily deterred would be offenders.
It was, therefore, opportune that concerned souls took up the challenge and recapped the sad story of the girl child. A new book ‘Dear Daughter’ now proposes practical solutions that could be explored by the concerned nation gripped by fear of the unknown as the feminine character’s existence is threatened.
Just like the endangered species in the world that are near extinct, the girl child’s safety has been threatened to the point of extinction.
Famous author, motivational speaker and evangelist Zanele Mbokazi has penned this fascinating book that is a point of reference or compass for the harsh realities of life. With a total of 10 chapters, this book is surely a must read, especially for females aged between 13 and 21 as well as upwards to the youthful age bracket of 35. But even older females would find it handy as they tread on the journey of life.
‘Dear Daughter’ would be launched in the country on April 13 at the Prince of Wales Ground in Mbabane.
We engaged with the author on her newly-published book as detailed below;
Dear Daughter; what inspired this title or what was in your mind when you conceived it?
I wanted this to be personal. It is a letter from a mother (representing all parents) to a daughter. The book is about everything that my mother told me, everything that she did not tell me, everything I wish she had taught me and everything I learned through my own experiences and the experiences of others around me.
What motivated the compilation of the book at this point in time?
I had seen so much damage and confusion from our girls. For the past 14 years, I have been a patron of the Future Leaders Youth Organisation and that gave me an opportunity to work with young people in different settings. Our girls are taught by social media, TV and their peers, our girls do not know our voices as parents. This is the reason behind the book. To give a guide, a manual or compass.
Obviously, the scourge of gender based violence and abuse of the girl child is on the upsurge. What impact are you looking at making within the population by this book?
The best defence is knowledge and information. We can’t stop men from abusing girls. We can’t stop old men from ukukhohlakala and becoming sugar daddies and blessers, but we can teach our girls to understand their value and to have self-worth. We can build their self-esteem. We can teach them to say NO. We can arm them with possibilities that the future promises.
Have you thought of collaborating with schools or tertiary institutions to maximise on the book’s potential of reaching a wider audience?
Absolutely. We are using Future Leaders to penetrate schools. I am inviting schools and tertiary institutions, church youth groups to contact us so we can establish Future Leaders champions in their institutions. Also, we are available to visit and give talks to girls at schools. (We also do generic presentations on life skills that cover boys as well).
In your own analysis or dissecting of the book; what conclusion can you reach in so far as its relevance in this day and age?
The book is extremely relevant. It is the answer to any parent who is either scared or uncomfortable talking to his or her girl about real life issues. It talks about menstruation, boys and crushes, self-esteem, girls and money, girls and God, sex, relationships, jealousy, girls and friends, liquor, drugs and everything in between.
Last Friday was International Women’s Day; would you say society has done enough to protect the fairer sex from all forms of violence or the abuse scourge?
There will never be enough. Education is key. Having been to Eswatini and conducted an open talk-class with about 200 girls from different schools, I realised there is so much more to be done. I am, therefore, inviting all grandmothers, mothers and ALL daughters from age eight to join our #QhakazaGirl DearDaughter walk and talk on the 13 of April, from Mbabane Municipal Council offices to the Prince of Wales.
We invite them to wear anything with a shade of pink.
The books are available through Larry Mhlanga (7820 6155) or Lindelwa Mafa (7642 6726) our coordinators in Eswatini at E150 per copy, at Mgavuza in Mbabane and in Matsapha next to Shoprite at the book store there.
We also urge booksellers to approach them.
LASTLY and extremely important – the fight against abuse and the grooming and empowerment of the girl child can’t be done by one person – we need everyone. I am, therefore, inviting and challenging all organisations and corporates from Eswatini to partner with us on this day with water, food, pay for services and any other items that they can assist with to make this successful.
For more information people can follow me on Instagram @mbokazizanele or my Facebook page @zanelembokazi or contact Larry Mhlanga.
Other books by the author; Before the Vows, This Battle Is Not Yours and PUSH; you are closer than you think.
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