how do you plead?

...does our womanhood obscure our humanity?









Standing before the jury of life
They’ll ask in voices dead
And indifferent –
Are you the washer of clothes,
The tiller of fields
The fetcher of wood
And the cook bending over the fire
And how do you plead
I plead woman, woman as charged!

Kneeling in obeisance
Before the altar of patriarchy
They will ask –
Are you the bearer of children
The suckler of infants
The raiser of mankind
And the keeper of home fires
To this how do you respond
I plead woman, woman as charged!

Lying prostrate before
The edifice of culture
They will demand to know –
Are you the keeper of silence
The longsufferer of wrongs
The beast of burden
The slave of all who are male
And how do you plead
I plead woman, woman as charged!

The verdict is in
The shackles made of tradition
The cells forged by stereotype
We pronounce you woman
Sentence you to a lifetime
Of subjugation, of oppression and inferiority
You one of us but less than us
What have you to say for yourself
I plead human, HUMAN like you!

(in cognizance of the 16 Days against Gender Violence campaign)


6 thoughts on “how do you plead?

  1. zibonele says:

    suka lapha, being a woman is not a death sentence, go and read Proverbs 31. u shld be proud that u are a woman. if u were born a male yikuyini ongakwenza that u can fail to do khathesi. like u usually put it u dont need a male organ to change the world. stand up do something then the world will take notice.

  2. itsdelta says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more; hence the rhetoric question ‘how do you plead?’ meaning there is a choice one can (and in my opinion should) make, for instance one could “stand up do something then the world will take notice” as you put it. And I agree being a woman is not a death sentence but for many women it is a life sentence – a life sentence of abuse, struggle, poverty, discrimination and a host of social injustices that are often perpetuated under the guise of preserving ‘culture’. The poem is not an attack on womanhood, it is an attack on the superficial social gradations that relegate women to inferiority, it is an interrogation of the patriarchal traditions, values, cultures, norms and practices that marginalize women and confine them to certain ‘spaces’ limiting their choices and authenticating a system that works against their best interests.
    Finally…my writing in the first person probably made you assume (erroneously) that I am writing about myself or for myself – I am proud of being a woman and I am even more proud of the fact that I am speaking for those women for whom the 16 Days campaign against Gender Violence could mean life or death.

  3. mbulelo says:

    don’t want 2 b controversial bt whenever u make those vows on yo wedding day kuqakathekile 2 ponder over the gravity of their content.The Bible says a wife can be put away only 4 fornication!Not sure if it ain’t a sin 2 divorce 4 any other reason. FOOD 4 THOUGHT…

  4. Noxolo says:

    Long ago it was a man’s sworn duty to, in marriage love,nurture,protect,provide for his woman, his family. Over the years it appears they forgot how to do all of this hence the 50/50 was birthed, a chance for women to rely on themselves,manage even to be the sole breadwinners of their households. bcoz of the constant let downs they have had to endure from their protectors. Womanhood is no curse but a fortification of the strengths that men take for granted, it doesn’t have to be physical see, but by Jove we are fighting to break those bonds of insipid subjugation! From mud came Adam and from his rib, Eve was born….breakable but definitely stronger than mud.

  5. fidelis says:

    ah well0 ma ndewere manetsa!

    Do u think women will ever be equal to men

    • itsdelta says:

      Fidelis, I don’t think women will ‘ever’ be equal to men – I think that women have ALWAYS been equal to men – they were simply raised to think otherwise… and it would appear you were raised to think otherwise yourself? The question you need to ask is are human beings equal and if they are not should they be? If you answer yes to either or both of these questions you have essentially found the answer as to whether women can be, should be or actually are equal to men. Women are human beings too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s