SAMA award-winning rapper Rouge has penned a letter to South African men about gender-based violence and the recent killings of women. August is women’s month and with this current week’s murders, nothing has improved when it comes to violence against women. As many call for justice for Asithandile ‘Kwasa’ Zozo, a University of Witwatersrand, the student who was attacked and killed on Monday, 17 August 2020.
The hashtag #JusticeForKwasa was created as a social media protest against her killing. Rouge has a few questions for the men out there.
The letter speaks about her experience of living as a woman in SA and speaks directly to her mostly male fanbase.
Dear South African men
It took me a while to pen this letter to you. To be honest, I didn’t know what to say. The answer to me seems so simple, and yet here I am on a public platform and I ask that you STOP hurting us.
Growing up the youngest of four girls, it never dawned on me that I was growing up in a country where to be a woman was to be at constant risk. I never anticipated that being a woman in South Africa would mean that I had a higher chance of dying at the hands of my partner than someone I don’t even know.
I often wonder what we’ve done to you to deserve such indifference, such hatred. Am I not worthy of breathing freely and not having to look over my shoulder every day? To experience the same freedom, you seem to take for granted every day?
And then it hits me, I should not have to decipher your actions or motives. I shouldn’t have to live in constant fear that you’ll hurt me. Something has broken in you and it is your responsibility to fix it.
I’ve addressed this letter to South Africa’s men, because the majority of my fan base are men. And as much as I appreciate your support, I have to speak to the source of the problem. Men have to step up and do something to stop this terrible violence against women; hashtags and slogans are simply not enough.
Have you changed your behaviour? Have you held one of your boys accountable when they were out of line? Or does your support for women issues stop at the point where it gets a bit inconvenient for you?
The next single that I will be releasing, is directed more to the men of South Africa. When you have had a listen, I will need you to reflect and answer me this, #SenzeniNa?