Invest in women
An African Woman's Take on How To #BeBoldForChange
International Women's Day and Women's History Month is about celebrating the role of women and campaigning for their rights. Africa is in a phase, where almost everything matters and still nothing matters at the same time. It is a continent straddling old and new – traditional ways of life intertwined with fast-growing economies – it remains at times looking for its new identity. And it is this traditional way of life that is changing, at times for the worst, but at times, with regards to women's rights, for the better.
International Women's Day from an African woman perspective had its own phase. Women are being celebrated in Africa and this is forming a new wave. The media has shaped some of our perspectives on how women are observed, especially in urban areas.
However, to most us, celebrating the day of women takes us back. You see, an African woman experiences the proverbial nine lives of a cat. She is a wife, a mother, a farmer, a carpenter, a teacher, a priest, a counselor, a creator. All of this wrapped together in a box inside her: the phenomenal woman, with the nine lives vibrantly living in her heart.
With her little exposure, knowledge, and education, she was (or is at times) believed to be a slave to her masters, the male counterparts. She was best suited in the kitchen, tirelessly cooking for her large family hour after hour.The kitchen firewood smoke burnt her graceful eyes, her fingers soaked in black dust from the charcoal. She bore few scratches as she split the firewood using the axes. She carried jerry cans on her back, in her head, from streams kilometers away. She cannot afford a rest. Her beloved family would greatly suffer. No one empathized with her and bails her out, even for a day.
She religiously pleased her man. Gave birth like she was paid to do so. Yet she lived in extreme poverty. Her station was after all in the house, at the family farm, at home. Year in and out, her belly popped, and a child was born. And the cycle repeated itself.
She toiled the farm with a baby on the back, under the scorching sun, she endured the cold July, with her baby gently wrapped in lesos under a banana tree. She woke up early to prepare her children to school before the cock and prayed for her families before day began. The wee hours of the morning, as the majority are still tossing in bed, saw her up, chirping together with the beautiful birds, ready to usher the day, ready to live her nine lives. Ready to make a mark in the society.
This woman has been too powerful, yet it’s hard to believe, with all her armour, with all her hidden strength, she was under authority. She was invisible and unheard. She was neglected, abused, rejected, and undermined. She wished, dreamed, and hoped.
This month we celebrate this woman who has been fighting for her liberation, for her freedom, for her education. She has accomplished and conquered the odds. She is liberated, she is educated and she now makes her choices on her own. She has fought hard to be a teacher, a banker, a doctor, a farmer and all. She continues to cause rumble because of who she is. All that was needed was a little awakening of her vibrant nine lives, which she has multiplied to became a career woman, an advocate of her rights, an educationist in her society, a role model.
She continues to soar higher every day through the enlightenment. She is no longer a voiceless kitchen being who had no life off home, who never in her wildest dreams could imagine the feel of the wheel, who never imagined could be an advocate for her rights with no fear of shut-down, who never imagined herself going for a holiday at the beach, and just soak in the sand as she enjoys her breeze on her back. She is gracefully conquering heights and making tremendous impact in her life and society. She is at the forefront to make a world a better place, and whenever she goes, her presence cannot be ignored. You inhale her presence in your nostrils, as she is too powerful, and you can’t distinguish her dreams.
She is a confident woman now and makes things happen wherever she steps, at home, workplace, or her social life. She is still the woman with a little grease under her fingernails on her perfectly pedicured nails, she is not afraid of the dirt. She is down to making her world a better place, at whatever cost.
"Give the girl the right shoes and she will conquer the world."
We celebrate these women this month.