The front page of today’s (15 February) the Sowetan blazes “golden boy loses shine.” At first glance the reader might be at a loss about what this headline really means. In the text there is a reference to domestic violence, but it is only upon close inspection of the page – in the caption under a picture of a non-descript hooded man – that one is informed that Oscar Pistorius has been arrested in connection with the murder of his girlfriend.
Wondering what one could write in a feminist blog on the global phenomenon, Valentine’s day, I am somehow reminded of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s “Love in the time of cholera.” Could one, for instance write something about love in the time of inequality? As soon as these words are written, I realise that this has been done practically throughout history.
I am asking myself whether modern-day girls still indulge in the romantic novellas which informed my and my generations’ ideas about romance and love between two people. Continue reading What’s love got to do with it?
If there is one thing that staff in Sister Namibia has to be credited for, then it is for our constant efforts to look at issues and topics that affect women not only in Namibia, but also in the region.
Today, we started reflecting on issues of virginity and what being a virgin might mean. In a culture where a girl or a woman’s “virginity” is a mark of honour for the family this potentially has far reaching consequences for women. We already raised issue with concepts of virginity during the hype around Olufuko (female initiation schools) revival attempts in some northern regions last year.
So our questions: What does “being a virgin” mean at all? Who is a virgin? Can “virginity” be restored? Continue reading Questions about “virgins”
Are we captives of our hair?
A friend of mine recently cut off her long beautiful dreadlocks. Shocked, I asked her why and she told me she just felt it was time for a change. Then she added how ‘liberating’ it was. It made me think back to how many times I’ve heard women close to me talk about the feeling of liberation you get from cutting your hair, it made me realize that the last time I cut my hair, I too, had said I felt liberated. Continue reading Hair Again
Headlines in the Namibian, today blazed a story on syndicates targeting pharmacies with false prescriptions of abortion pills. If there is one thing that makes my blood boil in this country, it is the prevailing attitudes and discussion around abortion. We keep on citing supposed moral “arguments” about keeping abortion illegal in our country, while at the same time, there is overwhelming reasons for making it legal.
Firstly, there is no contraceptive that is absolutely safe. Therefore, there will always be unwanted pregnancies. Looking at the number of young girls walking the streets with pregnant bellies, I always also wonder about the circumstances under which these young girls got pregnant in the first place. Did she really consent to having sex, or was she somehow coerced or cajoled into having sex. How much say do women really have when it comes to sex, condoms, contraception, etc? Realistically, can a young girl of, let’s say, 13/14 years, go to a clinic and ask for advice and assistance with contraceptive options? Somehow, I think not.
Looking at statistics dating back to 2003, I am informed that nearly 20 million abortions were estimated to be unsafe and that about 13% of pregnancy-related deaths have been attributed to complications of unsafe abortions. Almost all deaths and complications from unsafe abortions are preventable. The same source informs me that in places where abortion can be done legally and safely, the risk of death following complications of unsafe abortions have been reduced by several hundred times. Where is the morality in letting women die when there are relatively easy and absolutely safe ways to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
I cannot understand the arguments “protecting the fetus” when women are dying every day from the complications of back-street abortions. As long as abortion remains illegal in this country, we must expect that illegal and dangerous practices will flourish.
The mother of an aspiring techno-geek daughter, I often have to listen to my daughter’s analysis of her current favorite genre of literature, the super-hero comic. Her preferred topic of conversation about the super-hero comic is how the super woman is betrayed. Almost every time she lapses into her excited monologues on the super-hero women, I tell her to write something about it. She dutifully agrees every time, but I am still waiting.
The consequence of all this talk, however, set me thinking about what an African Super-Woman (SW) might be like. Continue reading Adventures in super-woman land
Our mission statement declares that, “Sister Namibia wants to inspire and equip women to make free choices and act as agents of change in our relationships, our communities and ourselves.”
Everyone knows what making free choices means, but when I look at the types of relationships that women enter with men, I am certain that many women do not understand what being (an) “…agent(s) of change in (a) relationship…” really means. Continue reading Agency
Having officially joined the blogging community, we today are reminiscing about why – in a country like Namibia, which claims to constitutionally uphold the equality of all its citizens – the feminist cause is so urgently needed.
While in some regions of the world, people are already talking about post- and/or second or third wave feminism, I sometimes have the distinct impression that we, in Namibia, are still living in a pre-feminist society. Let me explain: Not very long ago I went to a meeting where there were quite a number of women. While I will not divulge the nature of the meeting, I need to explain that many of the women present that day stated that they no longer “can produce for a man,” therefore they are “worthless.” Continue reading The right to have your own value
When we first started our first journey into the big realm of social network, we were cautioned by media expert Spectra that unless we want our blog to look like a badly written CV we would need to post something on a daily basis. Now you have to understand that the Sister Namibia team is completely challenged when it comes to all tech matters. Comprised of a BBC (born before computers) and a self proclaimed tech ignoramus, the Sister Namibia team can only admire the techno geek girls who are using this technology so effortlessly to link to the world.
Therefore our fellow cyber-space feminists, we ask you to be gentle with us. We will try to avoid tendencies that may suggest that we have a bad CV. Our midwife into this wonderful world of instantaneous and cyber reality is Amanda Moln who has the benefit of a Swedish education on her side. As for ourselves we had to contend with third rate education system typical for southern African countries. We nevertheless embrace this journey and trust that we will have lot of joy and growth from it.
// Laura & Mimi
The 6th February was the international day of zero tolerance to female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a so-called cultural practice that occurs very widely throughout Africa. Forms of FGM occur in parts of Namibia as well. It consists of the total or partial removal of girls’ and women’s external genitalia or causing injury to women’s genital organs. Where it occurs, Female Genital Mutilation usually is inflicted upon girls before they reach puberty. The victims of FGM usually are girls between the ages four to eight years old. The “operation,” usually is done by women, who themselves have been subjected to these practices. Continue reading The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation