The Fall of Feminism

Thato Feminism

Thato Mahlangu

@YoungAchieverSA

Feminism. What is it to be a feminist in a world that is filled with so many young men, who feel they too need the same attention their counterparts are getting? What defines a country that strives for equality? What do we make of this unfair imbalance brought on men and the separation and division of men and women? What equality is thereof?

A feminist is one who advocates for the emancipation, empowerment and advancement of women ONLY. She looks after her sister’s handbag and her sister’s kids, especially the girl children. She would do just anything to protect, show love and help her sister. She helps her with her wardrobe and makes sure that the mistress (if there is any) is dealt with correctly and accordingly. She is inspired by women, like her sister, who do not just hold down a good position but also a good body. She is jealous sometimes but she tries her all to make sure that her sister knows that she could move mountains for her. She is her sister’s keeper after all. She, too, is empowered and powerfully beautiful.

The sad thing about this beautiful powerful sister is that her future husband will be one lazy man who will moan all day and you know why? Simple. Feminism failed to equip not only her but those she loves, those she would eventually grow old with (all thanks to the thing called love) someday. Fortunately I would not blame her because her goal really was to be empowered and they really did try to uplift her. The mistake was with the upliftment of the female child only. Hear me right, there is nothing wrong with pushing the women empowerment envelope but at whose cost?

I imagine South Africa and many parts of the world still having a high rate of children who will live to tell their children, grandchildren and those who care to listen that they were abandoned by their fathers, that, they too, are products of rape. Their fathers abused not only their mothers, sisters, daughters and their girlfriends but them too. I would hate that. I would hate to see these young men go around making babies without protection and without actually taking care of their off springs.

Feminism is falling, whether we like it or not. It is also failing us, the entire humankind. We cannot for any reason undo what they (our forefathers) did but we can do what we can with what we have which is the ability to empower each other regardless of gender, sexual orientation, sex, cultural background, group class, and race or pigmentation.

We need to think about the future, about our sons and daughters not just our daughters only.

Why We All Should Not Be Feminists

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I had always regarded myself as a feminist but came a time where I was awaken as a being. I am a 25 year old male who dreams one day of having his own kids but what kind of kids I want is the most important question I needed to answer. And I did just that. The answers I got were very frightening. I wanted to believe something was wrong with my findings. There is something right and wrong about pushing the feminism idea in this day and age. As I mentioned in my opening line, I had regarded myself, without any shame, guilt or embarrassment, a true feminist and a champion for women’s rights. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was my role model because she spoke the language I understood better. I read all her work and followed all her endeavours. Adichie is a true advocate for women and change. But frightening questions came rushing in my mind one day and since then I came to the idea that feminism only worked at a certain era in our lifetime. When women were oppressed, violated and silenced. In no way I am saying women are free but in freeing women we should not forget about the men, especially young, who, too, are chained by our systems and ideologies.

Feminism has taken a new turn, it has shifted. Now most women who consider themselves feminists are all about empowering only themselves. They go in units or circles of ‘empowered’ women and they keep on nominating around these based on the experience, qualifications, successes, secrets they share and the stores they shop in. What most feminists do not seem to notice or understand is the damage their course might leave behind.

The example I will use is not in any way similar to the subject but I would like for us to find common values Apartheid had. Apartheid, too, was a course which was used by the white government to systematically suppress, mutilate one’s mind and kill one’s identity. It robbed people of so much and a minority benefited in great quantity what should have been shared. Women are a majority and by that they need to have a strong and great effect in societies they live in. I agree with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi when he said “when you educate a woman you educate a nation” and the same should go for the advancement and empowerment of women, young or old.

What I am for is the advancement t of all sexes regardless of your sexual orientation and skin colour. But it seems like most people are for the betterment for only a few. What nation are we building? Which men are you going to have as sons in law? Which sons are you going to be proud of? Yet we blame men when they become irresponsible and curse the day they were born. What should we do now? What can be done? Man and women should be treated as equal as their rights are before the eyes of the law. We must bring up our children to recognise that they are the same and for them to believe that they are the same .Let’s thinking about it for a minute, feminism I mean. And let’s also think about patriarchy and the damages it has brought to mankind. Let’s think about it in a much broader way that will not dispose anyone but will rather bring much needed strength.

A Rainbow Nation: Our Fantasy

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What do we pray for every night and morning? What have we listed on your wishlist? What are your aspirations and dreams? What are you doing differently? What are you teaching your children (not just biological)? And most importantly is the question: “Who are you?” Once you answer this and some the honesty-seeking questions you might be able to realise just so much in your life including your view on race. Race has been very fragile a topic. Racial matters are now (or might have been since the days of apartheid) much alive and people are not talking about but acting upon. Why do we always act upon than do some talking? I strongly believe it is time we addressed these issues than writing useless and pointless open letters and sharing our racial illnesses on social networks like some people have done. We cannot be a rainbow nation really without having cconciliated before. A rainbow nation has been sadly been a fantasy as we have not realised it 21 years after the democracy. Reconciliation cannot be shared if have not understood what is it that we are suffering from, what has hurt us and pained us. It is only when, black and white, people come to realise that the only thing that can truly liberate us is the TRUTH before reconciliation. Knowing the truth and living it. Most of us are denying the past but we talk of it as if only one is to be blamed and the one to be blamed is the black man. White people need to start to be honest with themselves and try to meet black people halfway in order for us all to reach some kind of reconciling. It cannot only be black people who come about forgiveness when they had been the ones who experienced all the trauma which was inflicted by apartheid and those who designed it. Now, it is time for us to talk. We need to create platforms similar to the Truth and Reconciliation programme but that will have a broader and positive impact in all parties not just for a few. We need the truth. We need honesty. We need to forgive. And we need to realise our rainbow nation.

Education denied once more!

TUT students protest over NSFAS exclusion in 2014.
TUT students protest over NSFAS exclusion in 2014.

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Thousands of students will either take an unplanned gap year or be forced to find jobs so they can pay for their fees. What pains me is that some of them will be tempted to take the easy options presented to them such as prostitution and crime in order to better their future which is very gleam all thanks to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Last week the minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Blade Nzimande, issued a statement regarding the funding matter and he said NSFAS would receive increased funding to cater for poor and disabled students. The amount is about 9.5Billion but still is not enough to even cover every student who needs it most. It has been said that most of those funded by the financial scheme are be able to fund their own fees but they just continue to lie so they can get funding which is meant to fund those who are academically and financially deserving. Over 800 Wits students were denied access to their results last year while the situation is worse at other institutions such as the Tshwane University of Techonology, Vaal  and the Univeristy of Johannesburg. Some students are considering dropping out and what pains me most is the pain and suffering which was unnessesary inflicted to the students by the financial aid scheme. At some of these institution tuition fees are very expensive so is the compulsory registration fee which breaks most of these prospective students faith of ever reaching for their dream. What should be done now? The EFF’s Barnard Joseph said last December the NSFAS should be scrapped and free education be introduced for all until the first tertiary degree which could be a solution but I believe the problem is with those corrupt students and NSFAS officials who want to milk and steal from the poorest of the poor.

TedX Pretoria: Changing Lives and Perceptions

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On the 27th of November 2014 young entrepreneurs, business owners, innovators, change makers, techno geeks and academics gathered at the Innovation Hub to share, to learn and engage in powerful and thought provoking conversations.

The theme was of the talks was Changing Perceptions. The event was organized by the TedX Pretoria team with the help of sponsors such as Standard Bank, BlankCanvas, USN, Jacaranda FM and Talk Radio 702 amongst others. Ted is an international platform that seeks to make use of technology, educate and design to inspire the youth.

Each speaker was given 18 minutes to change the world as this was part of a global campaign to stimulate meaningful change through the power of ideas. And the speakers did just that. Thato Kgotlhanye spoke passionately about entrepreneurship.

“We need to stop aiming for start-ups and small mediums enterprises but for empires”.

One of the attendees Paul Green said initiatives such as this were what young people need as they offer support and you build a network.