African Women African Bodies

Society & Culture | By POVO Correspondent, Editorial | 03 June 2019

The 21st century has seen the increase of organisations, activists and individuals rising up against the society that has down looked women as incapable and inferior especially in the political, economic sphere of most nations with women advocating for equal job opportunities, empowerment and against gender based violence. Women have risen against the social constructed concept about how women are inferior and have proven how much they can accomplish and can do better in the male dominated capitalistic world. In Zimbabwe we have seen women rising, for example, Tyra Chikocho aka Madam Boss making it in the comedian industry.


However, despite advocacy for women empowerment, politically and economically, a wide gap still exists when it comes to social empowerment of women. African women and their African bodies are still being sexualised and undermined in the society. It does not matter how much they have acquired economically or politically but the fact that they are not male they are still being valued as the incomplete human whose main aim is to provide sexual pleasure for the male counterpart, being domestic housewives and child bearing machines. 


Cyber feminism movement was welcomed as a way of promoting women as prosumers of content but the internet and new media technologies have been used to sexualise the African women’s body. Sex tapes of many African women celebrities have leaked, how the African body is being disrespected, seen as sex objects. For example despite how well up Zimbabwean socialite, Pokello was once a victim of a leaked sex tape. Tyra Chikocho (Madam Boss) was another woman who has been victimised by the society, being accused of sleeping with men to promote her work. There is no emancipation or the liberty of the African woman who is still viewed in relation to what her body is like. There is need to promote social equality first, to change the mindset of the society for women to be respected in relation of whom they are mentally, physically and emotionally. When there is no social equality it means there is no peace and development within a community. 


Despite the rise of female activists promoting the end to child marriages and domestic violence, there is a worry as to why most women withdraw court cases which they would have reported. Most of these violence perpetrators are going scot-free, not because they do not deserve to be locked up but because women are still afraid, afraid of what they society  will think of them, for putting their husband in jail, of who is going to provide for the family when the husband is now in jail because the husband is usually the sole breadwinner of that particular family. 


Discussing this with a certain woman who had withdraw her charge against her husband who had beat her up to a pulp confirmed the assumption that I had been questioning myself. The reason behind her withdraw was who was going to take care of her family this includes even the extended family, therefore, if she was to continue with the case what was her family going to say, for some were already rebuking her actions ignoring the violence against her. The family, she says, has been telling to be strong because that is what men do; they are like that in nature. She cried and said one of the most shocking statement, I ever heard, “Most graveyards are full of women, who have been subjected to constant abuse with the society telling to hold on and endure until she is no more...”