How free are we?

4 04 2008

 by Nomawethu Solwandle

If you keep up with what is happening in the media then there is no doubt that you would have probably seen the story about the girl who was humiliated at a taxi rank because she was wearing a mini skirt. I was both shocked and disgusted to see that people still thuoght like those men in that taxi rank, even in the new South Africa. I thought that narrow mindedness was left behind. I naively thought that South Africa was one of those countries that had come a long way and that we could look foward to an even brighter future, moving foward with the spirit of ubuntu where we worked together as a country.

It is sad that just a hand full of people can spoil it for everyone because am pretty sure that there are more South Africans with positive minds, that want to move foward and grow both politically and socially, but how can we move foward if such people still exist in our societies?

I always though that public spaces like taxi ranks were one of those places where one would feel safe, guess i was wrong. I mean I am from a township and I feel totally safe at the taxi ranks I go to. You might get those odd of hoofs and whistles or “aw baby awusemhle kangaka” (Oh baby you are so beautiful) but I mean those are things you can still ignore or tell those people where to get off, but to actually be humiliated in public like that must have been devastating .

On a  programme called “Youth Expression” on SABC 1 this week, they raised this issue about girls wearing mini skirts.  Obviously relating the issue to what the media had already put foward. South African youth were allowed to bring their views foward on the issue. One girl commented and said that maybe South Africa needs to have more police patroling in public areas such as taxi ranks. I agree with this to some extent. At the same time we can not always blame other people’s bad behaviour on the police force. I am not saying the police force is perfect, they have their issues but that is a totally different story and that is not what I would like to get into now because it is another issue on its own. We as South Africans need to be disciplined in our own right before we can have other people looking out for us. We may have more of the police force protecting us but it is of no use if we do not have values and self discipline.

What those men did at that taxi rank was disgusting and they need to be severely punished for their actions. We can wear whatever we want, when we want and most importanatly where we want. South Africa is a free country, is it not? Our former president utata uRolihlahla Nelson Mandela declared South Africa a free country in 1994. If we as South Africans not respect what he worked and fought so hard for, then that means that his trial of 27 years in Robben Island was in vain. 

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4 responses

4 04 2008
nomawethu

I think that we need to build South Africa in a positive way. We have worked hard to get where we are today and we should respect those who gave up their time and lives to give us a better life today.

4 04 2008
ghettoverit

I haven’t been following the news so much, what exactly did these guys do to the girl in the mini skirt?

4 04 2008
itumeleng

nothing short of radicalism will save this country from the threshold of the illiberals. The taxi rank incident was as a result of ignorant grown folk who have not yet absorbed the notion of human dignity and freedom of expression (assuming mini-skirts express some o’these post modern fashion statements).

while they should be blamed for their actions, we should not lose sight of the bigger picture, that this country is at war with itself and a radical shift in the epistemological make up of our institutions tasked with producing knowledge remains as important and urgent as it was back in 94.

we need more afro scholars if we are to defeat the ignorance that the previous system and the majority of our present day scholars seem to be perpetuating.

4 04 2008
alnadall

I will play devil’s advocate and apologise in advance….

The taxi-rank incident is disgusting and I am very proud of all the women who stood up for their rights. Perhaps they should make a National Mini-skirt Day….

I don’t condone the actions of the taxi drivers, but let’s try and see this from a different point of view: You switch on the TV and you see sex. From Parmalat ads to “Farrah’s” little outfits on Isidingo. The facts are plain, simple and unavoidable. The teenage pregnancy rate is higher in the SADC countries now than it’s ever been. We’ve reached a point where we would rather preach safe-sex than abstinance because it is just more realistic. Our society is outraged about the taxi-rank incident but what about the fact that we are implementing a national pledge in our schools to prevent pre-pubescent children from stabbing one another to death.

Question is: how short is too short? How much is too much? Were are we supposed to draw the line to prevent the world from further moral deteriation?
Taxi drivers: don’t be idiots. Don’t pick on pretty girls with mini-skirts. Rather teach your own children not to wear them and confiscate their freedom of expression, thought and movement. Home-school them. BEcome Amish. I fear this is all you can do to stop moral decay…

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