‘Every no good woman was made no good by no good man,” so says US R&B sensation Robert Kelly in his song ‘Be Careful’ featuring Sparkle.
But it seems Batswana women are sick and tired of blaming men for everything that goes wrong in their lives and so want to take things into their own hands.
This, at least, seemed to be the general consensus at a glamorous ‘Super Women Electrified’ themed talk show held at Barloworld, Gaborone Commerce Park on Thursday.
“I want women to break out of their cocoons and make themselves heard,” said one of the panellists, Veronica Morara.
“We should stop lurking in the background when it comes to big decision making and be part of the decision makers.” Morara said women in Botswana do most of the work but they do not get the recognition they deserve.
“Men have it easy,” she said. “We take care of the children and the whole family while they sit there reading a newspaper or watching television.”
She said this country is where it is because of women. “Sometimes I say to my children, ‘I need a wife’,” she joked, evoking cheers and laughter from the floor.
“We are our own worst enemy. Let’s do away with the stress we get from our men, children, friends and neighbours. We gave birth to these men and it is our responsibility to teach them to be loving and caring. We should mould them into the kind of people we want them to be,” Morara advised.
Pastor Mogotsi Baloyi was also on hand to share a “vantage view point” from the spiritual perspective.
“The woman is where she is because she expects some form of validation from her male counterpart. She is waiting for someone to show her she is special, to validate her,” the Pastor said. “You are not ready for a relationship or marriage until you are happy all by yourself.”
The words of the pastor seemed to have inspired one of the few incredibly outnumbered men at the show to open up and share his story.
“I’m an old-school white man,” he said. “I was brought up being told women should always be submissive but since I met this special lady here [pointing to his partner] that belief has been debunked. If I can change, anyone can. Show them (men) how you expect to be treated and get yourself a man who understands and appreciates you.”
The talk show was now in top gear as the hostess Lerato Tebogo passed around the microphone for more personal experiences and opinions.
“We take ourselves for granted. We work too hard to keep everyone around us happy,” said one clearly frustrated young woman.
“We need to change our mindset. We cannot have men doing certain things and getting away with it while we sit back and think we can’t,” said Gaone Tlhasana of RB 2, echoing the woman’s sentiment.
Sethunya Sebadireng (Yarona FM) shared perhaps the most poignant personal experience of the night, pausing every few seconds as her emotions seemed to get the better of her.
Hers though, is unfortunately a story too familiar ÔÇô absent fathers.
“I grew up without the love and support of my father,” she said sobbing. “To the fathers out there, if you have a daughter, be [to them] the best father you can possibly be.”
Sebadireng said not having a father figure leaves young women vulnerable to abuse from men as they would be looking for some form of fatherly love.
“You tend to believe every lie the men tell you. You believe they will be there for you and take care of you only for them to use and dump you,” said.
Katlego Mokgethi wrapped up what seemed to be the general consensus perfectly when she said, “we should leave men alone and look within ourselves. We should be content with ourselves and not look to our men to provide. We need to empower ourselves.”
International Women’s Day falls on March 8 annually and the theme for this year is ‘Inspiring Change’.