On Law, On women, Other Stuff

suggestions for my south africa

I wear many hats
woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.
white, privileged, educated, lawyer, writer

mostly, I am woman

which hat do I wear when there’s a crisis in the lives of women?

I call on my highest self

I question what I can do. As a woman first and then as the other.

At first my instincts kicked in. I cried, I got angry. I shouted out for the death penalty. I’m scared, for myself, my three daughters, my own mother.

Then I started reading. I was taught to read and to think. I am one of the lucky ones.

The death penalty is a calling for more violence. But it goes against s 11 of the Constitution.  “Everyone has a right to life”. It was rejected years ago in the Makwanyane case. 1995. The very first case that came before the Constitutional Court. Does it deter crime? The stats will tell you it does not.
But I also know that this country has fought hard for that Constitution and it is our last resort.

We need to respect the Constitution to avoid falling completely apart.

Just like everything else.

We need to teach respect. We need to respect ourselves and we need to respect each other.

I can only call on my highest self

Judge Chaskalson said in that case: the greatest deterrent is the likelihood that offenders will be APPREHENDED, CONVICTED and PUNISHED. This is what is lacking in the criminal justice system.

So, the criminal justice system is key. I know that but I’m not in that system.

I can only call on my highest self

And then for the next thing: the prevailing ideological set: male supremacy and patriarchy that sustains the violence.

That must also be changed.

How do I do this? I cannot do it alone. I must call on the leaders, the government needs to help here.

All I can do is ensure is that the leaders I choose, are good.
Then it’s for those in leadership to call on their highest selves; choose the right people to assist them to lead; curb excesses, ensure that corruption cannot take root, protect and govern the citizens who elected you with proper, adequate, committed policing. Forget private planes to take you to lavish parties where you debate but take no action. Implement. Enforce. Action. Men and women.

But I am an ordinary woman. What’s my other? What more can I do?

I can only call on my highest self

 I can march peacefully or post socially to show solidarity and assuage my anger and pain

I can support women in all I do with grace and compassion – never aggression

I can use my mothering privilege to teach, listen, comfort and love in the hope that my girl children and boy children can enjoy a different South Africa 

Now all I ask of you South African men and women, is that you do the same.

As leaders and lawyers, teachers and preachers, citizens and civil servants, parents and partners.

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