Youth turn planning into action

Date: January 1, 1970
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A woman is a most beautiful of living creatures; nature’s right hand helper, through childbirth, she shares creation. The woman, deserving of gratitude and respect, someone I, who is still in my teenage years, aspire to become.

Since the beginning of recorded history, women have endured great suffering. Because of their physical disadvantage, the female gender has usually suffered from those with physical advantage – men.
Today we have the start of a different story to tell. The man has become a nobler human being, appreciating the worth of a woman. Maybe when they look into their wives’ eyes they see their mothers. Or, maybe when they look into that little boy’s eyes they see themselves when they were that age. Maybe when they see that little girl, they see a bright future.
I would like to believe that the countless efforts by women and men to educate about and discourage violence against women and children have been fruitful.  These inhumane acts towards women and children seem to be decreasing. Whatever it is that helped change the insight and character of men, this change is beneficial to both women and men.
Yet, our job has merely begun. Though we are currently celebrating Sixteen days of Activism, only 365 days is what women are really asking for. I wish that for 365 days, no woman or child would get a bruise on her body, be raped, or experience violence or any kind of bodily harm.
What many do not realise is that bodily does not end skin deep. Emotions are shattered, nights tormented by dreams, life a living nightmare, and the beauty of a woman is gradually lost. Can we afford to lose so much? What would humanity do without the patience and loving nature of a woman?
I wish the whole world would hear me and understand. I wish that that the man ready to go out and look for someone to rape would hear me and think of the future of that poor innocent child. I wish we all spoke one tongue and could hear the cry of the women who have suffered enough.
However, I am not going to sit in my room and wish for 365 days. I hope none of us does. I’m going to make one last wish, that my work be fruitful. That is where the action comes in. We are going to act. For 365 days, we must fight violence.
As long as there is an article every night of one rape incident or another, then we must fight. If I knew how, I would change the great words spoken during 16 Days of Activism into literal deeds and strategies. We have planned enough, now it’s time to do the work. That is the most important part.
I always argue that if women are seen on the news every night in one conference or another, eating fancy food and wearing exquisite clothes, then it creates a very controversial picture. It becomes an obvious and boring thing and people lose interest. We are sitting comfortably here now. We are not fighting.
A woman is out there being beaten and losing her self-esteem with every strike he lays on her. That is where the fight is. That’s where we should be. The planning is well done I must commend those who have been doing the planning. However, I am only commending you on beginning the job. Now let’s get to it. Believe me, the praises will then be greatly appreciated.
On a final note, I would like to add that the girl child is the most important factor in this fight. She needs to be the most interested. She needs to understand why we are in this fight. Allow me to say, many of the women who have done the planning are about to go home and enjoy their pension. The work is with us the young people.
So, speaking from a girl’s point of few I’d like to advise you to consider taking this mission to the people who need it most. The future Botswana; the young girl and the young boy. The children. They lead the road to victory. They need to be heard.
Emang Basadi tswee tswee. Tsosang banna! (They need your help. You need to stand up 1st)
Lebani Mazhani is a student at Rainbow High School in Botswana and this essay was originally delivered as part of the Botswana National Action Plan to End Gender Violence meeting held 19-21 November. This is part of a series of articles produced by the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence.

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