Honouring African Women
When I got the email from Sokari asking if I would like to be a part of this project, I leapt at the idea. There is nothing better than celebrating the achievements of people of my own heritage and more so, the achievements of the African Woman. But then the euphoria soon wore off as I wracked my brain as to who I wanted to honour on this day. Who did I want to celebrate? Who did I want to recognize? Who had made an impression on me? I ran through a mental list (albeit a short one I must confess) and stopped a couple of times as my brain sifted a name out, paused and then carried on. Then, quite suddenly, the perfect choice came to me.
These are the women who keep the wheels of society and their community and indeed Africa well oiled and turning but who never get any sort of recognition for it.
This is for the woman in the village with a baby strapped to her back and another one on the way, her heels cracked and bleeding as she makes her way to the stream to fetch water, to the farm to work the land, to the home to take care of the family. She stretches whatever she has to feed two, three, seven mouths. She washes clothes till her hands are sore and bleeding, and pounds the yam till her arms scream out in pain.
This is for the woman who watches as her country is ravaged by war. Who stands by helplessly watching her child die because the land refuses to cough up crop and her breasts have dried up a long time ago.
This is for the woman who has been sold into marriage for sake of family, faith or tradition. Who endues the breath on her face and the feel of a man she knows she will never love.
This is for the woman who suffers abuse because of her colour, lifestyle, faith, opinion, background, ethnic group. Suffers abuse because of the mere fact that she is a woman.
This is for the woman looked down on because she has chosen to stay at home and look after her kids. Often ignored at her husbands office functions because it is thought that her only job is being a housewife and therefore has nothing intelligent to contribute to conversation – after all looking after the kids the whole day is a no brainer.
This is for the woman in the business suit, competing in ‘a man’s world’. Working a 9 – 5 on paper, but in reality is putting in twelve hour days. Trying to get her voice heard, her paycheck increased, her work recognized, her achievements honoured.
This is for all women who have ever asked the question Why me? Is this what my life has become?
This is for all of us who in one way or another are forgotten and maligned because of who we are – Women.
This is for all women who have triumphed, succeeded, broken out, challenged stereotypes, spoken up and fought for what I take for granted today.
Today I am your voice.
Today I recognize you.
Today I celebrate you.
Today I Thank You.