I have new-found respect for the modern black woman. A commentator put it best when she said that many of our grannies had to endure non-stop infidelities, seeing their husbands’ faces in those of neighbourhood children.
These were marriages held together by tradition that favoured a gender that would hold us under subjection. These are the marriages my generation refuses to accept.
We are the voices that refuse to be just another number in the tally of statistics of marriages that withstood all adversities that partners put before them.
We refuse to be part of a choir singing a tune we cannot harmonize with.
Black society has an expectation of women to have unending levels of tolerance for the inadequacies of men who refuse to rise to the occasion of manhood.
When a woman declares she can no longer accept her man’s infidelity, she needs to shield herself from insults and emotional abandonment.
The expectation that a woman must remember her place is, in its own form, a kind of abuse.
The family grandmothers are quick to remind young women to bekezela (persevere) – in essence, burn ourselves to keep another warm.
These same gogos sleep peacefully in their own houses while, deep down, women are emotionally dying from the abuse they endure at the hands of men and their families.
The truth is that emotional abuse is real.
Husbands and their families expect a good wife to forget her previous life in order for her marriage to work. The pressure is just too much.
The boundaries constantly being set up as her stumbling blocks in life, the constant draining of anything and everything that she has to offer, and even her reserve energies, just to keep this unhealthy union intact.
A woman is stripped of her dignity as she suffers alone, she is stripped of a support system because society has expectations of her, never him.
I have new-found respect for modern black women, because they have the audacity to expect respect and reciprocity.