#TotalShutDown In Madadeni, KZN & Womxn’s Activism Today

Afropolitan Explosiv joined South Africans, as they marched along the streets on the 1st of August 2018, as part of Women’s Month.

A campaign called  #TotalShutDown, womxn are saying no to gender violence.

Singer and womxn/LGBT+ sensation Thandiswa Mazwai, announced the program for the campaign on her Instagram:

Marches were held in Pretoria, Newcastle, Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg George, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bisho, Makhanda (Grahamstown), Polokwane, Venda, Nelspruit, as well as in neighbouring countries Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

This is as a response to high incidents of violent crimes in our society, whose most common victims are womxn.

Afropolitan Explosiv had the opportunity to participate in the march held in Madadeni, KwaZulu-Natal.


On Womxn-ism

Now some of you may wonder about this designation, womxn. It transpired as a gender variety term to accommodate sexualities such as (cross gender, lesbian, bisexual, homosexual, transgender) amongst other norms. Gender rights organizations chose to change the spelling of this term in order to achieve the independency in the term swapping (men) for (mxn, myn or min) all together they strongly represent their sexuality independently. .

It has to do with the historical evolution of gender equality activism. Whereas before the focus was on Feminism as an area concerned with women’s rights, and now today with the increase of Queer Studies, the orientation of gender-based activism is interested in the in-betweeness of human sexuality. It opposes the idea of biology as explaining the origins of eroticism.

According to the Boston Globe, part of this new lexicon also now includes the option X, in questionnaires/forms where gender category is required.

Although the organizers of the Southern African region-wide campaign had declared that no men would be allowed to participate, however a lot of men were seen in the procession. Other men simply chose to stand on the side and watch, while others hooted their cars as they drove past. Julius Malema, a well known politician, had also encouraged the public to support the march.

The march began in Phelandaba Stadium in Section 3, and went to the Police Station in Section 1. It was outside the police station that the march took its full force, as people in the various office buildings got out to come and watch the marchers. Some whistled as the marching womxn danced, protest anthems with familiar ring, but with lyrics explicitly turned to womxn’s bodies as a target of violence.

Siyaya, siyaya

Siyaya e-stadium.

     Noma besidlwengula


Siyaya e-stadium

The singing of such songs, with an emphasis on the violence, sent a chilling effect to anyone listening. One could not simply pity these women; but they also did not hold the posture of fearlessness, reministent of Black Power era, or the jadedness of the 1980s State of Emergency era.

There was a new kind of confidence, not derived from the need to prove their rights, which was characteristic of previous eras.

This was no time for spectacularity! Whereas before womxn had to fight for their rights (eg: the right to vote), now it’s a matter of awakening of those rights that are already there but have been randomly neglected by society.

They allowed the evidence of this neglect—the violence, accumulated through statistics, validated by media reports and personal experience—justify their claims.§ Staff Writer


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