This Week In The Khuta – It ain’t a man’s world any more
Namibia joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March. We celebrated the achievements of women: young and old and this year, men were urged to be part of the solution to gender issues.
They were encouraged to work together with women to create a peaceful, developing nation that recognises gender equality and human rights.
However, it seems like some men are deliberately ignoring this call. Case in point is when my friends and I visited Maerua Mall last week Sunday, we were met by two taxi drivers as we were entering the shopping centre. One of them said my friend reminded him of his ex-girlfriend and naturally, she took offence. The next moment, he started hurling insults at my friend and I lost my cool. A heated debate ensued and I was deeply appalled by the man’s ignorant and arrogant behaviour. I later realised we were dealing with a chauvinist; one of those men who always want to be right and see women as inferior beings.
Growing up, I would hear the word ‘chauvinist’ in so many movies and conversations. The word carried little weight for me, but I realised that it referred to someone that is so full of themselves, it made others sick to be around them or to acupuncture into that person’s body.
Now what exactly is a chauvinist? A chauvinist is someone who is an exaggerated, bellicose patriotic believer in national superiority and glory or someone with a prejudiced belief in the superiority of ones own gender, group or kind.
My definition or example of a chauvinist – a Namibian taxi driver. Before the run-in with the taxi driver on Sunday, I considered my taxi driver as my friend, a brother, a father, an uncle – someone I can trust to take me places and not in the slightest way possible cause me harm intentionally. But on that day, all that was proven wrong when I was told to respect the man or go back to my own country.
What surprises me is that it is those same men who need us to survive. If we boycotted their taxis, they would be at a loss. Don’t they know better than to bite the hand that feeds them? They cant operate a business without morality and they can’t have disregard for other people when they need their money. Let’s face it, without us they are hungry and naked and without them we stranded.
Women are to be celebrated and not mocked. We say we are in the new Namibia; 22 years on and most women are still not independent and clearly these men are still holding on to the notion that this is a man’s world. Later on that day, I caught myself thinking that no matter how many times we celebrate International Women’s Day, women will still be made fun of as they walk past a group of men, we will still have to fight hard for top positions in the business community and men will be men. They will, well, stay chauvinists.
My dear brothers, don’t let the notion that you rule the world get the better of you. Let us be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Let us acknowledge when we are wrong and know that the words ‘I’m sorry’ are the words of a wise and decent man – whom I think exists in all men, lets tread on this earth with care and respect others.