Yesterday marked the anniversary of the 9th August 1956 march that South African women took against pass laws – this law required black people to carry written consent permitting them to be in white areas.
Fifty three years on I question what true transformation our society has made and my ability to live out the ‘luxury’ of the freedom that our predecessors have laid out for us.
My celebration of the march took place this past Saturday. I was part of a group of four women who hiked up a mountain in Magaliesburg. We comprised two South African classified coloured women, an African American and a South African born white woman. The fact that we, as a diverse grouping of women summited the mountain as friends provides evidence of progress of racial integration. I have hope that we could speak freely about the challenges that some of our communities and even parents have at accepting a new integrated South Africa. The fear and lack of knowledge of accepting our friends and boyfriends from other cultures.
Steve Biko’s I write what I like gives me the backbone to stand firm in my Africaness and Wendy Luhabe’s Bridging the Gap warns me of institutional racism. Both encourage me to create my own future. I guess that both women and black South Africans of my age are the experimental group and need to learn how to extend our hearts wide, learn to trust and find confidence and courage to offer our best in a world where we still doubt that change is taking place.
The book He’s just not that into you and Steve Harvey’s Act like a lady, think like a man gives us dating rules for a woman to ‘catch her man’.
Where is the space for self expression that is sometimes unpopular and politically incorrect? Courageous conversation and confrontation?
We call on guidance of the elders who went before us, the availability of encouraging mentors and the ability to have sometimes edgy and piercing but truthful conversation about the issues confronting the realities of being a young black South African woman.