Lesotho: Justice for all!

Date: December 5, 2013
  • SHARE:

Berea, 6 December: For years, friends and family would see that Chief Chaka Makebe would not smile. People asked how his marriage was and whether or not him and his wife were still happy. “We are fine,” he would always tell them. However, Makebe’s marriage was not fine and he had lost his smile.

Every day, his wife would verbally abuse him and criticise him because he was unemployed. “At first I couldn’t tell anyone, because I was so ashamed. It all started when I stopped working in the factories in South Africa in 1996. I was finally reinstated to the position of a village chief, which was earlier occupied by my wife acting on my behalf,” he explains.

Things got better when he was elected into Kanana Community Council to serve as chairperson. Makebe is now championing a committee in his village called Justice For All, which works to help the community in a number of areas, one being the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV). The Kanana Community Council is a Gender Links Centre of Excellence working with communities to promote gender equality.

He is also one of the growing number of Basotho men stepping forward to say that men are also victims of emotional and verbal abuse. He noted that he has handled cases of abuse for both men and women, but explained that men are extremely ashamed to speak out and seek help.

Women in Law Southern Africa (WLSA) National Coordinator, Libakiso Matlho agreed that stereotypical expectations of men tend to encourage silence. The few men who suffer abuse are too ashamed to report it because “cultural perceptions expect that men be strong and crying out on their part is a sign of weakness.”

Makebe maintains that women are mostly the victims of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of men, but says that GBV in any form, experienced by any person cannot be tolerated and must be stopped. “We all need to live in peace and break the cycle of abuse in our villages and the country at large.”

Speaking at the launch of 16 Days of Activism, Deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing acknowledged the plight of women and the horrifically high prevalence rates of GBV in the country. He said that people must take strong measures to ensure perpetrators feel the full might of the law. He not only encouraged men to speak out against GBV, but also to come forward and report any abuse they suffer at the hands of their spouses.

Palesa kolane is a freelance journalist in Maseru. This article is part of the Gender Links News Service, special series on 16 Days of Activism, providing fresh views on everyday news.




Comment on Lesotho: Justice for all!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *