Sisters who don’t do the ‘f’ thing, thank God there are those who do

Saturday March 02 2024

Woman mixing ingredients and vegetables in pan. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


“I don’t do that stuff!” a prospective client told me curtly, as we discussed our schedules with a view to meeting in person. I moved on smoothly because, at this age, I have enough meditation hours and wisdom to resist pointing out to her that she is a founding member of an organisation for and by women.

We are at the top of a very busy week for practising feminists like me. I just want to take a moment to revisit why some of us do this work.

In my case, the reason is rooted in my foremothers. I think of my grandmothers lives with gratitude and endeavour to live well in honour of them.

Living well has to do with enjoying the freedoms I have that they never did, seeking out the freedoms that they have that I do not enjoy, on balance trying to create an even bigger space for the women who shall be my/our progeny. All of this not at the expense of men, but rather, hopefully, in partnership with them.

Read: ULIMWENGU: There is more worth in what is public than in what is private

I believe that the liberation of women is the final frontier. It is no longer okay to exploit children, it is not okay to enslave people, it is not okay to use the N-word with a hard R.


Do these things still happen? Of course they do. But social evolution is a real thing and I think that it is humanity’s fate to improve itself collectively over time, even if it doesn’t feel that way to us directly in our tiny little individual lives.

This is also a matter of hoping for a decent old age, like the I am privileged to witness my mothers live at the moment. They own property and run households, having fended off male relatives’ attempts to divest them of their resources.

They are free, they have status. None of them will ever be accused of witchcraft and killed because they are old and bent and defenceless in a hostile patriarchal world.

They have food on their tables to share with their beloved grandchildren.

My peer sistren have survived childbirth: we hold in our hearts the ones who left new-borns and grieving spouses in an ultimate sacrifice.

Our daughters are confident and proud to be smart. They are in a world that wants them to become engineers! We hope fewer of them than us will suffer should they choose to marry.

All of these things, which I celebrate, are precarious wins. They rest on a foundation of rights that were fought for and won incrementally.

On turning medicine’s eyes to our needs; on punching racism in the face and resisting the rapacious exploitations of capitalism that would turn our bodies into labour production units and faceless, rightless consumers.

Feminism is the belief that human rights extend beyond the confines of the masculine. Radical, I know.

To my sistren who “don’t do that stuff,” I nod gently. You don’t have to, but thank goodness there are those who do keep the light shining for you, neh?

Here is to a ripe old age. Happy Women’s Day to you too.