Rosina Mogothlane, Mpho Kekana, Lerato Mabuse, Mmabatho Ledwaba, Dineo Lekalalala, Suzzane Kekana, (all from my own village in Zebediela) Eudy Simelane, Valencia Farmer, Susan Rhode, Charmaine Mare, Malethabo Ntlhane and Rosemary Theron and many more. These are some of the women who were murdered by South African men because they are women. Their horrific and gruesome murders found a little or no space at all in South African media outlets, hence you might ask yourself who are they.
While some of the femicide cases in South Africa get serious and extensive media attention and coverage, however, every day the murders of many women of all races go unreported in many media outlets.
In this well-researched book titled Femicide in South Africa, author Nechama Brodie thoroughly dissects how the media has covered the femicide cases in South Africa during apartheid and in the democratic dispensation. While the book is based on Brodie’s doctoral thesis, I need to fully commend Dr Brodie for having broken the academic language into a simple language that everyone can fully grasp when perusing through the pages of this book.
The scribe nicely unpacks how the media throughout the years has covered femicide cases through the lenses of race, class, language, but most importantly how the media continues to get it wrong with its reporting about this pandemic.
Now, I need to admit that this book directly speaks to me in two ways, first, and most importantly, it speaks to me as a man living in this country and secondly as a journalist. The book provided a space for me to reckon with the historical sexual assaults and violent crimes that we, men in South Africa have and continue to commit against the most vulnerable people in our society.
And, how we, those who are tasked to inform, educate and entertain the masses through our pens and microphones have intentionally through our selective behaviour failed to really expose this brutal generational war directed at women, only opting to select and cover a few cases that serve our selfish(most business-related) reasons.
The truth is, it is only us men, and that is, ALL MEN who can end the scourge of femicide and violence directed to women and children in South Africa. I like how Dr Brodie thrashed the notion held by the ‘Not All Men are Trash’ brigade. You cannot be an ally of women’s rights and a champion against an end of femicide and gender-based violence, while you cannot call into order Sipho and Jabu whom you know are sexually and physically assaulting their wives every night.
An end against this pandemic starts with us the so-called good men (the not raping and or killing women). We need to act(not only speak) and fight the evil behaviour of the men(mostly our friends and brothers) around us who we know commit such acts day and night against women.
The importance of this book can never be overstated with the current state that the country finds itself in, where women are forever asking themselves whether they’re next to be killed.
Not only media practitioners should read this book, but every South African man should make this book their daily reference on how they can be social justice champions in their communities and end their unearned entitlement of women’s bodies.