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Gender Violence


This month has been declared ‘Women’s Month’ and many countries have had a special day of commemoration for it. This column based on the Islamic view has always stressed that women must be treated with kindness and respect. Most importantly this should not be limited to those ‘special’ months or only for the days that are declared; but this should be for their entire lives.   

In an earlier column titled ‘Women in Islam’ the following verses were quoted: ‘Among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may live in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts (Quran 30: 21) and the Bible echoes a similar message, "God created man in his own image … male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27).  ‘The Believers, men and women are protectors, one of the other; they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil’ (Quran 9: 71). And; ‘…. (O Believers!) Live with them (i.e., the wives) on a footing of kindness and equity’ (Quran 4: 19).

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Women are the twin halves of men." The Qur'an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile: They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187). Meaning that we are to protect one another, just as clothing protects us from the elements of the climate. It is unfortunate that the world of today some rogue elements of men treat women with complete disrespect and contempt and in many cases even with violence. Not a day goes by without us reading how the rights of women are being violated when they are beaten up, raped or even killed up by their spouses, live-in partners, boyfriends and some deviant elements of society. Frighteningly of late is that more and more do we hear that children as young as four years and even grandmothers in their 70’s are being abused and even suffer rape.

I read a piece in the media of what the Secretary of the Human Rights Foundation and chairperson, Amnesty International SA, has said, quote "Violence against women and children is a crime against humanity and deserves the focus and application of adequate resources to effectively address this extremely serious and often neglected crime" unquote. This is exactly what it is. There is a great misconception within our communities as to what the rights of women are or should be. Men are often misinformed about their rights and responsibilities over women and vice versa, of women towards their husbands. Some people in our communities are creating incorrect perceptions regarding the rights of women thus further perpetuating and creating an environment for these evil perpetrators to act with impunity.

Sometimes it is because of our cultural, traditional and some societal barriers that spousal abuse has been relegated to the side lines, almost a topic for non-discussion. Women are being so abused in our society that some people would like us to accept this as ‘normal’, they may even classify it as a ‘domestic’ affair thus private. However, I know of no religion that allows the abuse of women.

Strange as it may seem but just recently, even a Deputy Minister in South Africa is alleged to have beaten up two women after a night out at a club. If this type of behaviour goes right up to that level – the community is in crises.
It is true and very unfortunate that in many cases women are subjected to the most serious form of physical abuses, that leave visible bruises and scars that bear testimony to the abuse that was inflicted upon them. We hear of many cases of physical, verbal, emotional, abuse that take place (behind closed doors) in homes that include pushing, slapping, punching, kicking, beating, bondage, and refusing to help a wife even when she is sick or injured. This violent behaviour includes destruction of valuables, hurting pets and loved ones- and even towards children.

But what about the "silent killers", you know, the ‘verbal and emotional abuse’? Verbal and emotional abuses do not leave scars which are visible from the outside but they leave deep scars which are etched within their hearts and minds. Unlike the physical scars, these cannot be erased and many women carry and live with these emotional effects for life. Counselling or therapy may help them to ease their pain and sorrow but in many cases cannot erase them.

One may think that verbal and emotional abuse is not ‘so bad’ but the harm, it causes, is long term. Women are very often treated as sub-humans. They are demeaned, insulted, sworn at and demoralized to such an extent that they soon become emotionally dead and they are left with no choice other than to accept the abuse as being part of their lives. Many women are made to feel and to believe that they deserve such treatment and pretty soon it becomes something ‘normal'.

Nowadays the rampant use of drugs and alcohol has also increased the woes of women as it has led to many women being verbally, physically and emotionally abused. When a man gets home drunk or is high on drugs, he may beat up the wife and may use force to satisfy his desires. Some men treat their partners as if they are some kind of material possessions. They regard them as being "their property".

Some husbands are overprotect ive and jealous keep their wives within their homes like prisoners. If the wives make and attempt to socialize or call their friend over to their homes for a get together, the husbands may even accuse them of engaging in extra marital affairs, immorality etc. Very often these women suffer abuse due to suspicion and accusations, which are falsely levelled against them. Islam forbids this: ‘And those who launch a charge against chaste women and produce not four witnesses to support their allegations – flog them with eighty stripes……’ (Quran 24: 4)

Going even from bad to worse is the issue of rape, which seems to have spiralled in our society. Sometime back figures were given to Parliament which said that between 2012 and 2014, there were 6167 reported rape cases against women and children – that translates to 2000 per annum – almost 5 people per day! Stop there for a moment and think about it: this concerns our women, be it our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and other members of the female gender – but lately even innocent children and even old ladies up to 70 years of age have been targeted and are no longer safe from it.

Rape is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed against a woman, it is soul destroying, it carries with it deep emotional and psychological scars that will never heal. Therefore as society we should agitate and push for very heavy penalties for the rapists. This is a rallying call to each and every one of us in society to stand up and demand that our leaders in Parliament debate the issue and enact even more stringent legislation to protect those special people, our women – they are special because each and every one of us are on this earth because of them. Yes we owe it to them.

Remember this beautiful saying: “A real man never hurts a woman, be very careful when you make a woman cry, because Allah counts her tears. The woman came out of a man’s rib; not from his feet to be walked on; not from his head so that he is superior, but from his side, to be equal, and under the arm to be protected, and also from next to the heart to be loved.” Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: The more civil and kind a man is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”


Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”


Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.


Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)


Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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