Death or Divorce Ė a tough choice for many
Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.
ďEveryday is a new experience for me. I donít know what version of husband Iíll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,Ē she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.
Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.
For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. ďIt was a traumatic experience,Ē she tells me. ďI can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.Ē
Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai
I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.
ďFor a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victimís decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.Ē
Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.
ďThe truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesnít change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,Ē Ms Lawal says.
Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.
ďIn my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,Ē she says.
Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?
ďWhile I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,Ē Ms Rahmatulai says to me.
I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions sheís an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.
A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulaiís case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.
How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?
ďThe decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they donít learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,Ē Ms Lawal says.
ďWhen I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,Ē Ms Rahmatulai says.
ďIt’s been 20 years since I left. Iím 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.Ē
*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.
Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights.
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Dr Lame Pusetso comes to writer‚Äôs rescue
Multi award winning author of fifteen (15) books, Dr Lame Pusetso has put together a platform to empower local writers. Dr Pusetso is a President and Chairperson of the Executive Board of Kasapa Society.
She is also the Managing Director of Poeticblood Publishers and an owner of an online bookstore dubbed Mind and Soul Bookstores. Dr Pusetso has reiterated her commitment to helping upcoming authors, writers and poets in establishing their crafts and capitalizing on them.
In an exclusive interview this week, she said that she has put together a platform dubbed Botswana Literature Awards, which have fourteen categories.
When quizzed on what the awards stand for, Dr Pusetso said ‚Äúwriting as a form of art in Botswana is a skill that many have and have always been exploring. As a publisher, I have met different writers from all walks of life and some indicating that there isn‚Äôt enough motivation to keep going.‚ÄĚ
In Botswana and according to the writer, there has been a limited representation of appreciation of authors. This is despite their efforts year in year out.
The whole intention of these awards really is to honor and recognize the hard work that local authors put in, when doing what they know best (writing).
‚ÄúThis is a way of appreciating their creativity and we will be doing this across all genres. The awards also act as a motivational tool to young writers who still have dreams of becoming best selling authors. Quite frankly, their works are of great importance and we cannot afford to let that slide like that.‚ÄĚ
Dr Pusetso emphasized that all the winners will walk away with an award, a certificate and complimentary gifts to take home. ‚ÄúThe two winners of Best Overall Author and Best Young Author will in addition receive book publication deals which includes book distribution and marketing for a year.
She gave a clearer picture of how authors can be a part of the literature awards.
‚ÄúThe awards are open to every author from the age of 7, must be a Motswana, and their book should have been published before or by 2022. For authors with more than one book, they are allowed to compete with only one book for one category, and different books for different categories.‚ÄĚ
The young writer pinned hope on institutional collaborations, in order to stage the second edition of the awards next year, saying ‚ÄúWe believe with these awards, the different institutions and stakeholders will show interest in helping nurture the literature scenario in Botswana.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt will also give authors hope and light to keep writing and penning down their stories for the benefit of all. We anticipate to host the next edition in 2024 with assistance from all interested parties.‚ÄĚ
THE LITERATURE AWARDS CATEGORIES
Dr Pusetso stressed that there are fourteen (14) categories, and they are: Religious or Faith Based Book, Poetry Book, Children‚Äôs Book, Multi-lingual Writer, Best Collaboration, Setswana Novel, English Novel, Motivational Book, Best Young Author (7-13), Overall Best Author, Best Theory, Best Online Writer, Best Media Writer (Honor Award) and Honor Award (Long Serving Best Author).
EXPLAINING SPECIAL AWARDS
Best Media and Honor Award, Dr Pusetso said are not based on submissions but nomination by the committee. ‚ÄúFor Honor Award, we want to appreciate the individual who has inspired the Botswana writing scenario over the years and even assisted numerous authors as both a writer and a community leader.‚ÄĚ
The Best Media Writer award is meant to appreciate a journalist who is actively taking part in appreciating and helping authors in marketing, advertising and affording them a platform to showcase their works through their writing skills.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Literature Awards will be held on the 29th April and they are partially sponsored through the literacy grant. This is a grant under the Botswana National Library Services which falls under the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.
Women‚Äôs Awards hit the ground running
The second edition of the much-anticipated Women‚Äôs Awards Botswana will be going down on the 27th May 2023 in Gaborone at Travel Lodge. The organizers of the prestigious awards have announced finalists, with three nominees per category.
Women‚Äôs Awards Botswana is established to empower women and celebrate them from all walks of life and across sectors. The awards raise awareness for women to be granted equal participation, particularly in decision-making positions, as one way of breaking the gender bias.
They also seek to celebrate the outstanding achievements of women from diverse industries in Botswana. Taking a closer look at the categories, He for She award celebrates and shines a light on men who stand and support women.
These are men who advocate for inclusion of women, men who stand against GBV and men who promote any service that can better women life. Her Abilities award looks into women who have shown determination to keep moving and achieve any goal they have set for themselves, regardless of their disability.
Other awards are self-explanatory. They celebrate women in arts, culture and entertainment, agriculture, creativity, innovation and technology, tourism and hospitality, community impact as well as organization supporting women.
ORGANIZER SPEAKS ON CRITERIA USED
When speaking in an interview, Founder and Director of Women‚Äôs Awards Botswana, Bofelo Zebe, said in their first edition, they had fifteen categories, which was enough for a piloting project.
‚ÄúBut we left out many industries or lines of work. After the event, we received reviews and suggestions, and there was an intensive evaluation that led to us increasing the categories to eighteen for this second edition.‚ÄĚ
He said the nominees were voted in by the public, adding that the finalists were judged by a panel with the support of votes from their supporters.
When shedding light on what winners take home, Zebe indicated that there is an award trophy, certificate and goodie bags for all categories but ‚Äúwe are working to have financial sponsors jump on board so that winners and nominees can receive monetary incentives. We are also busy at work trying to retain our previous sponsors.‚ÄĚ
THE 2023 WOMEN‚ÄôS AWARDS BOTSWANA NOMINEES
HE FOR SHE AWARD
Desmond Lunga, Tlhabo Kgosiemang and Christopher Seagateng
BEST WOMAN IN ARTS, CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Ditshupo Mosoboloko, Thanolo Keutlwile and Seneo Mabengano
HER ABILITIES AWARD
Koketso Seleke, Goabo Kgasa and Mumsie Odirile
SPORTS WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Naledi Marape, Ouname Mhotsha and Keamogetse Kenosi
WOMAN FASHION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Montle Rantatana, Lesedi Matlapeng and Trudy Bakwena
BEST WOMAN IN AGRICULTURE
Nomathemba Masuku, Basadi Molelekeng and Keolebogile Keabetswe
BEST WOMAN IN CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Marang Mbaakanyi, Didintle Moreki and Thandeka Palai
BEST WOMAN IN TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
Masego Keleadile, Wapula Matshambane and Tshepo Phokoje
YOUNG WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Bridget Gothaang, Waone Makobo and Kimberly Matheakgomo
WOMAN OWNED SME BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Suits Africa, Nomlu Nail Bar and Sunflower Desserts
BEST WOMAN OWNED BUSINESS
Prezlin Clothing and Dawn Bell Academy
FEMALE MUSIC ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Mpho Sebina, Dato Seiko and Priscilla K
BEST ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING WOMEN
Sekao Foundation, The Fighters Support Group and Single Mothers Living with HIV
BEST WOMAN WITH COMMUNITY IMPACT
Lebopo Bulayani, Nanzelela Chaitezvi and Kebadile Wasenda
MEDIA WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Poppy Sello, Keikantse Shumba and Kedi Lezozo
FAVOURITE PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Marang Selolwane, Palesa Molefe and Masi Sithole
BEST WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP
Naseem Lahri, Neo Bogatsu and Lily Rakorong
AMANDA BLACK RETURNS TO SELF WITH NEW SINGLE ‚ÄúNGUWE‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNGUWE‚ÄĚ SETS THE TONE TO HER FORTH STUDIO ALBUM
Johannesburg, Friday, 17th March 2022-¬†‚ÄĚ Amanda Black returns with her signature mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences to deliver an inspirational message of returning to self and self-love ¬†with her new single ‚ÄúNguwe‚ÄĚ .
Available all digital platforms.
The single comes as Amanda ¬†Black gears up to release her forth studio album, featuring new songs with her signature sound infusing R&B Soul and tribal African melodies. As she grows and discovers herself as an individual, a spiritual being and a musician, Amanda is on a journey of self-discovery. The music reflects on the better and more hopeful space she has come to in this journey, the single ‚ÄúNguwe‚ÄĚ ¬†sets the tone and follows the theme of the upcoming album. The music is about falling in love with self¬†, honoring yourself by self-acceptance. The overall theme and message is spiritual reconnection and trusting herself with her music.
Surfacing in 2016, that album was certified platinum a scant three weeks after its release and went on to earn Black numerous nominations and awards – including three South Africa Music Awards, two Metro Awards and a BET International Artist Of The Year nomination.
Most importantly, Amazulu‚Äôs mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences secured Black a devoted fanbase that stretched right across the country. These music lovers quickly embraced her gift for telling authentic coming-of-age African stories through songs that touched on the universal experiences of love and heartbreak, of finding and losing yourself, of having hopes and dealing with fears.
But, in the background, Black was discovering that the road to becoming a fulltime artist wasn‚Äôt easy ‚Äď even one marked by commercial and critical success straight out of the gate.
Of course, when she began singing in church as a child growing up in the Eastern Cape, and even when she studied Music Education at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Black never imagined it would all be plain sailing. She knew there was no guarantee that, when she boarded a Greyhound bus headed for Johannesburg, she would return home with a story of success to tell. Too many talented musicians from her home town had made that same journey but had never returned – an experience captured with poignant insight on ‚ÄúBayile‚ÄĚ, one of Power‚Äôs standout tracks.
Still, Black never expected she‚Äôd have to expend so much energy standing up for her artistic rights after she‚Äôd become one of South Africa‚Äôs most popular and awarded artists. There was even a moment when she thought, ‚Äúwhat am I doing this for?‚ÄĚ.¬† ‚ÄúThe music industry is not what it looks like from the outside,‚ÄĚ the 25-year-old says, with just a flash of emotion. ‚ÄúBecoming a singer is not what you imagine. It‚Äôs a lot harder and a lot deeper. At that time, I asked myself, ‚Äėdo you even still love music‚Äô. I truly didn‚Äôt know if I could continue to keep fighting to be treated with respect and fairness. There was a part of me that thought maybe music should just be a hobby ‚Äď that I should just return to that happy place where I play my music and sing, for myself, my family and my community and it feels good.‚ÄĚ
But, in spite of feeling helpless and hopeless at times, deep down Black knew that she still adored this thing called music; that the dream she‚Äôs always had, of doing something that can change the world and heal people, remained intact. And so she went to the one place where she knew she could move through the dark and into the light and start writing music again: home.
‚ÄúMy family is like my compass,‚ÄĚ Black says, her words laced with gratitude and love. ‚ÄúThey are always there to support me, especially my mom. Whenever I go home, it‚Äôs to recharge. I can honestly say that being there is like getting my superpower back.‚ÄĚ
Alongside allowing her to feel the energetic power of her roots and the love of her family, being home enabled Black to make sense of the journey she‚Äôd travelled so far. She‚Äôd learnt to play and write on the guitar at 16 and, as part of reclaiming the purity of her love for making music, she returned to the instrument within the safety of home. ‚ÄúThe sound of the guitar soothes me, and it reminds of when I would write and play music with no conditions, with no expectations,‚ÄĚ she says. Black also began working with the beats and melodies that she has on her phone, freestyling lyrics with no judgement or editing, letting her spirit feel its way forward through singing and playing and imagining.
With a renewed sense of her creative being propelling her, Black returned to Johannesburg. There she embarked on process of making Power and establishing her new label Afro Rockstar, in partnership with Sony Music. Power is a mix of autobiographical songs ‚Äď a highlight is the light-hearted ‚ÄúEgoli‚ÄĚ – and others, like first single ‚ÄúThandwa Ndim‚ÄĚ, that see Black giving impactful voice to the experiences of women in the current socio-political moment.¬† The album features several love songs including ‚ÄúLemme Go‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúLove Again‚ÄĚ, and includes the stunning ‚ÄúHamba‚ÄĚ, a song about being thirsty for life, love, hope and happiness that features a chorus sampled from Margaret Singana‚Äôs ‚ÄúHamba Bhekile‚ÄĚ off ‚ÄúShaka Zulu‚ÄĚ.
Power sees Black once more working with producer Christer Kobedi and the album also has a special collaboration with keyboardist and producer, Kenneth Crouch. In the end, it‚Äôs an album of inspiration, of motivation and of integrity. As the next musical calling card of a South African global artist in-the-making, it‚Äôs breath-taking and is poised to bring Black back to where she belongs: performing¬† beautiful music for music lovers everywhere