Tuesday, August 26, 2014


An hour or so ago I came across this post in my Face book news feed. The post is on a page called 3rd degree which originates out of South Africa and has a largely white South African following. I read the words accompanying the image and, sick to my stomach I posted this onto my wall, believing it was true. After all the words state that the Washington post broke the story of the gang rape of dogs in South African Townships as well as across Africa. The screenshots are at the very end and viewer discretion is advised.
The link to the Face Book post is here

 The text reads:

Dogs being gang raped in townships. (Washington Post. US)

 This disgusting practice, where dogs are beaten and raped for sport by groups of males, has reached epidemic levels across the nation.

 Dog rape is not new to South Africa, and hardly isolated to our nation only. In fact it is an evil act perpetrated in many sub-Saharan African countries. The victims are typically beaten into submission, then gang raped by groups of men, often high on drink and drugs.

“The fact that men typically target specific dogs because of their beauty and muscular builds, something admitted by the politically liberal animal right’s activists working in the South African townships, tells me dog rape is in fact about sex. The EKP wonder if Apartheid is blamed”

Taken from the Washington Post: By; Laura Oneale & Animal & children’s right’s activist, N. Alexandra with research by G Vallone


Masimba Musodza and friend and ally did a search and revealed that the image was of a dog on a vet's table in Bosnia-Herzegovina, about to be treated for anal prolapse.
My own image search revealed that this image originates in Europe, hundreds of tweets from Denmark from people stating that Denmark has brothels where men can pay to have sex with animals, safely. Basically saying that Bestiality is legal in Denmark. Link to just one of such twitter accounts is here

"In Denmark there are entire brothels offer sex with animals legal and rape of a dog brings punishment according to one's perverted views enshrined legally ....

That dog in the picture has died as a result of the brutal rape and abuse in such a brothel for animals ."The blog is here.
There are images of this dog on the site below where the blogger names a  abuse and I believe has a petition to have him removed from his position
There are images of this dog on the site below where the blogger names a abuse and I believe has a petition to have him removed from his position

The comments section on the post is a mix of apologetic Blacks who appear to feel shamed by the article, as well as pure hate and poison from some whites:

-Not being racist because im also black..But our black race does disgusting things and then go on blaming it on apartheid.You need God straight

-Kayla, true, apartheid shouldn't be blamed 4 evrythng. But that comment of urs abwt black people doing disgusting things is what pissed me and a lotta people in here off! They raped that dog bcoz they are evil, not bcoz they are black!! Don't disrespect us sisi...tu!

I fucken hate the blacks OMG I really wish the Ebola Virus gets the whole fucken lot of them.

This story is bogus and is clearly crafted to induce the kind of white on black hatred that is seen in the comments section. It is also designed to shame blacks who see this, into actually questioning their own humanity, a humanity that has been questioned and refuted using bogus science by so many white people for centuries. It is this same so called sub- human nature of blacks upon which Apartheid was so cunningly crafted. The fact that the writer of the false story then further fabricates by saying that the practice of gang raping animals is rife in sub- Saharan Africa indicates a clear intent to not only demonize South African black men who are the majority in the townships but to depict all of black Africa as a cesspool of bestiality, the same way that others in the past have done about Africans in relation cannibalism and incest.
 The writer very smartly inserts the idea that apartheid cannot be to blame for the gang rape of dogs by black men. He/she then goes on to say that the rape  of the animals "is in fact about sex" to cast doubt on the fact that the horrors and violence that apartheid perpetrated on the black male is in fact the root cause of the rampant rape and violence against women and children that we see in South Africa today. In this way he/she believes they are distancing themselves from any culpability in the current condition of the black man. Once again the mythical/ stereotypical insatiable sexual appetite of the black man is thrown in there: he chooses to rape dogs with a certain physical aesthetic. One might even say that the writer is cleverly equating the gang rape of black women to the gang rape of dogs by black men, insinuating here that Black women are...female dogs (that's right Bitches).

I will not post links to the numerous stories that have been told in similar fashion in the past because I will not further perpetuate the negative narratives about the continent of Africa. Readers can do their own research if they so choose. However this blog written in 2010 demonstrates the dangers of libelous stories about Africa and African people and as such we should always take steps to correct the fallacies originated and perpetuated to keep people in fear of the darkies of the dark continent, and to justify colonialism and the “need to manage black Africans”.


 I choose to correct this terrible false and degrading story because the image of this dog has its origins in Europe, NOT Africa. The story told by whoever chose to tell it has only one purpose and it is the purpose that I want exposed. People if we are not careful about what we read on the internet, if we are not vigilant to the antics of oppressor peoples who have so much at stake and want to keep us in mental slavery and servitude, we are doomed. Micro-agressions of racism exist and they are designed to eat at you slowly, insidiously leeching away any collective strength by telling you subtly that you are less than fully human. Whoever operates the page 3rd degree has a very clear agenda: to taint the image of Black Africa to those who truly want a reason to justify their prejudices towards blacks and also to unassuming foreigners who would in the end start to believe that perhaps Blacks are better off ruled over by White people. It is a way to justify the fact that apartheid existed and to demonstrate that without white masters to keep blacks in check, we are an unruly mass of barbarism. Black men are in this case targeted. In other stories on this page it is black politicians etc. The lies on this page are endless and the administrator plays on the fact that people do not fact check, and also on the fact that expectations of black people are so low that they can peddle a story like this and even blacks themselves will believe it.

The page is clearly a page to aggregate the worst in terms of racial hatred between blacks and whites in South Africa and of course now they are stretching their wings to pull in the rest of the continent. Well we are NOT asleep and we will defeat your nefarious agenda! Hate has already been defeated. Get used to it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Young Africa Woman of Note- Mathamkaze Ramakau, Lesotho

Mathamkaze (Tammy) Ramakau
Tammy- the thinker
 I met  Mathamkaze a.k.a Tammy in Johannesburg September of 2013 along with several other young women, many of whom would become One Billion Rising coordinators. The one thing that struck me about this reserved young woman was that she was a listener. She watched intently as her colleagues talked excitedly and asked question about the campaign and she looked as though she was ruminating on every word. Tammy is a young feminist in Lesotho, and co- founder of the organization called Development and Leadership Centre.  This is an organization that supports efforts to end violence against women and girls. She is a thinker and immerses herself in motivational books where she  gets powerful insights that she shares daily with her sisters in her daily work. Tammy has had the privilege of being in a coaching and mentorship programme by (Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa) OSISA which has contributed to her growth as a young leader and activist.

 Tammy has a degree in Social Work. In her work, she realized  that many human rights institutions target young women,  but nothing seemed to change for the majority of young women these programmes purported to be assisting.  There is still a high rate of unplanned pregnancies and other challenges which render women economically disadvantaged. She volunteered at the Ministry of Gender and took part in a study carried out by the organization called Gender Links  which focused on relationships in the rural areas of Lesotho. This motivated her to work harder after she drew observation from the study that there is so much violence against women which happens without being reported.



Tammy also worked for the feminist organization called Women and Law In Southern Africa where she was a gender officer, which exposed her to international spaces and one of the most important courses she took was the Economic Justice short course which gave a powerful touch to her work. This even gave her courage to establish her own organisation that gives her a chance to develop herself and other young women. In her position as a Manager in this institution, she creates an environment where young women take part in development and also capacitate them. In the year 2013 she was part of the leading young women who influenced Women and Law to give a space for young women with disabilities to be sensitized on gender violence and be given chance to share their daily experiences on Women's month and she was one of the core facilitators in that workshop.


Tammy coordinated the One Billion Rising (OBR) Campaign on February 14, with her colleague and sister in the struggle, Lerato. They brought together young women in a celebration of the feminine and to protest Violence against women in song and dance. They also did the Vagina Monologues as part of their activities that day.


Tammy works everyday to offer voluntary counselling sessions to victims of violence, she accompanies victims to court so that they have an advocate and are not intimidated by the patriarchal court system.  Her dream is to see herself and other young women out of domestic spaces, taking part in development and living a life free from abuse and other injustices.
Tammy and Lerato took part in the global call to action demanding that the almost 300 girls abducted by a terrorist group (Boko Haram) from Chibok School in Bornou state Nigeria be found and returned safely. they worked with schools and other community groups to urge the Nigerian government , through the Nigerian embassy, to increase efforts to bring back the girls.

To me Tammy is what being "my sister's keeper" is all about. Her sensitive nature and her quiet strength is such an asset to our movement in Southern Africa. Her love for her sisters is transformational and all who meet her come away having experienced how special she is. This blog is to celebrate you Mathamkaze. Thank you for all you are doing for the women of Lesotho and Southern Africa. I bow.
Tammy and Lerato- sisters

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Young African Woman of Note- Lily Foglabenchi Haritu- Cameroon

Lily Foglabenchi Haritu
Every month I shall be doing a special feature on young women on the African Continent who are doing amazing work for their communities quietly. I am doing this because very often these are the women who do not get local or international media attention, nor do they have any desire to. They are doing what they do out of a sense of responsibility and they are passionate about service. Many serve in some of the most remote and underserved areas of the continent and they do so with energy and compassion. I also want to illustrate and debunk the fallacy that African women are not empowered and to highlight the kind of women that development agencies can employ in communities in Africa where cultural sensitivity is critical for real and lasting positive social change.

I met Lily on a friend’s wall on Face Book. I was chatting away in pidgin one day, and she responded with great humor to a comment I had made. There was something about this young woman that drew me to her. I therefore sent her a friend request and after she responded, I began to look through her pictures and to ask her about herself. I saw pictures of her in a remote village and asked her what she did for a living. To my surprise she informed me that she was a health worker and that she ran a mobile clinic in Kenya where she did preventive care and education in rural communities. I was very impressed with this young woman in her mid twenties, who rather than stay in the big cities as most young women would do, she was in the “bush”, working there and loving it! She endears herself to the locals and lives among them as one of them, thereby breaking down barriers that would make her work impossible.

It was not a surprise to discover that Lily is also very spiritual and a Christian. Her serenity and radiant joy seemed to emanate from her deep convictions. It was refreshing to meet a young woman who lives out her faith and who does not spend time trying to convince others of her goodness. She is an authentic Christian and this is manifest in her humility and non- judgmental outlook. Her ability to engage in social issues in a thoughtful manner is rare for someone her age. I present to you Lily Favour as she is known to her friends, and known to me as ‘my Beautiful Lily of the valley’. A phenomenal young woman of great beauty, both inside and out.


Lily is a young dynamic Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) specialist who is committed to promoting women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights with an interest in building a body of research and leadership in the field. She is the Supervisor of the Women’s Health Program of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) based in four main hospitals and three health centers in six of the ten regions of Cameroon. In this position, she has been involved in the provision of Women’s Health Services to Women and girls at stationary clinics and rural mobile clinics as far as the Equatorial rainforest of Central Africa and the Cameroon-Nigeria border in Abongshie. Her dynamic and innovative efforts have summed up to over 12000 women and 7000 girls reached with a variety of sexual and girls at stationary clinics and rural mobile clinics as far as the Equatorial rainforest of Central Africa and the Cameroon-Nigeria border in Abongshie. Her dynamic and innovative efforts have summed up to over 12000 women and 7000 girls reached with a variety of sexual and reproductive health services like; Family Planning, syndromic management of reproductive tract infections, breast and cervical cancer screening, treatment of cervical precancerous lesions, Human Papilomavirus Vaccination, clinical assessment of sexually assaulted women and girls, sexuality education and counseling, woman centered abortion care and HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.


As far as Lily is concerned, Women’s Health and Safety plays a key role in human development and economic growth and she is stopping at nothing to ensure that this is realized in the lives of the women and girls she serves on a daily basis. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree with honours from the University of Buea, Cameroon and Global Health Certificates in Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health from the Global Health e-Learning Centre Coordinated by USAID and Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Lily's understanding of the importance of respect for culture and for elders has permitted her to go into territories where women as a rule do not address men, and where bringing in new ways that seem to threaten the normal way of life is viewed with suspicion. Her charm and non -confrontational approach has led her to some amazing places, where health education for women is needed. Below Lily is showing deference to the king in one of the areas she works. She understands that paying the elders due respect will open the door to the women in the community, so that she can do what she needs to do.

In 2011, she represented her country as a delegate and speaker at the 1st Global Summit for Women’s Cancers in Africa, Addis Abba, where she presented lessons learned from cervical cancer prevention initiatives in Cameroon. Lily was the youngest delegate there representing her country Cameroon. This is a testament of this young woman’s sense of duty and passion for the health and well being of African women and her mentors have identified unique leadership qualities that mark Lily out from among her peers and those who are older and more experienced than she is.


She also offers part time lectures on Women’s Health at the Private Training School for Health Personnel, Banso. Lily Favour is a 2011 Sexuality Leadership and Development Fellow (Lagos, Nigeria), who seeks to interrogate contemporary sexuality issues and emerging best practices that advocate for right based SRH programming in Africa.

Lily Favour has been named one of the top 25 emerging young African leaders by the Moremi Initiative and has received the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (MILEAD) Fellowship Award. She will be among the 2012 class of Africa's most outstanding emerging women leaders that will be converging for a women’s leadership summer institute in Ghana. Lily features on the top 25 out of the more than 1200 applicants from 41 countries. This is again another indication of Lily’s remarkable leadership qualities and a testament of her trajectory to greatness.

Below are pictures of Lily in her "luxury apartment" on one of her visits to a remote area, preparing her "gourmet dinner"! She will do whatever it takes to get to reach these women with whom she totally identifies.


To me, Lily is an example of a young woman who has made the most of all opportunities that have come her way, not only for her own personal gain, but for the greater good of her community and country. I applaud you my beautiful Lily of the Valley. May your beauty and fragrant perfume gently touch the lives of those in your care and I hope that you will be an inspiration to other young women in your community, country and in Africa. Our continent is very fortunate to have you as one of her own. Look how the little ones follow you already!
Below is a quote from Lily's wall:
Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Love them
Start with what they know
Build on what they have:
But of the best leaders
When their task is done
The people will remark -Chinese Proverb

Friday, August 15, 2014

Young African Woman of Note: Lerato Ramaili Ramaholi, Lesotho

Lerato Ramaili Ramaholi

The optimist

I met Lerato in September of 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was with a group of young activists who were on a leadership training course. We met for dinner along with activists from Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia to discuss the One Billion Rising for Justice campaign. We only had a little over an hour together, but Lerato was one of the activists who would hunt me down incessantly to ask me to explain the vision of the campaign to her so that she could bring it into her community.


 Lerato is a young women’s rights activist from Lesotho. She graduated from the National University of Lesotho in 2011 where she received her Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB).

 Her passion to become an activist began in 2009 when she studied Gender and Law. In her final year of LLB, she wrote a dissertation on the topic, “A Critical Appraisal of the Gender and Development Policy 2003 in the Context of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment in the Lesotho Labour Market.” It was through this work that she was able to scrutinize various laws and policies existent in the country to determine whether or not they accommodate working women. The research was prompted by the realization that women unlike their male counterparts have different needs caused by their gender and sex roles. For example; the burden of family responsibilities caused by gender and maternity due to their sex. She then discovered that the laws and policies continue to discriminate against women thereby denying them equal opportunities in the work environment. She took this as a challenge for her to engage in advocacy and lobbying for the laws and policies that favour women politically, socially and economically. 

In 2013 Lerato volunteered at Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust where she worked as a Legal Pogrammes Officer and a Lawyer for a year. This organisation is the only feminist organisation in the country ran by women. She gained experience in advocacy and lobbying strategies and worked very closely with women in the communities.  She had the opportunity to attend a number of trainings such as the National Feminism course and the Train the Trainer workshop on Feminism and Organizational Development by OSISA.
In 2014, she became a director and a co-founder of a young women and girl’s organisation called Development and Leadership Centre which seeks to empower young women in every manner possible with emphasis on economic and sexual abuse. The founding of this organization was inspired by the realization that there was a need to create a place where young women could go to get assistance when faced with violence and where they could be supported. The organization, though young is dedicated to supporting victims of violence and to ensure that justice is served until the scourge of violence against women ends.
In February this year she coordinated a one Billion Rising for Justice event for young women of Lesotho and came to realize that there is a lot to do. The testimonies shared that day revealed that rape is prevalent amongst young women in Lesotho.

 In May this year she facilitated on the countrywide feminism forum in Lesotho which was intended to increase feminist leadership in young women and girls in the communities. Through her organization, she coordinated the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in Lesotho.

Lerato is an amazing young woman who is so passionate about ending violence against women that at 7/8 months pregnant she would walk all over her community doing outreach and door to door activism, educating young women about their rights.  She is determined to see young women and girls assuming leadership roles, contributing to and benefiting equally in the development of her country and African continent.
Thank you for all your amazing work Lerato. You are a true leader and your passion for mentorship and educating young women is what we need for a better, safer future where women and girls thrive. Despite the hardships you continue to do this important work never complaining and always with enthusiasm. You truly are your sisters' keeper. This blog is my humble salute to you mama Victor!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Young African Woman of Note: Thenjiwe Sibongiseni Mswane, South Africa

Thenjiwe Sibongiseni Mswane- South Africa
 Roaring Lioness

 An email came into my inbox in March this year from a young woman named Thenjiwe. Thenjiwe, who was in the United Kingdom had just participated in the One Billion Rising for Justice (OBRJ) 2014 campaign in February in London. In her email she expresses great passion about getting involved with the campaign and stated that she was moving back to South Africa. At the time I was in Zimbabwe and When I got back to the United States we had a Skype call that went on for over 2 hours. It was clear to me then that Thenjiwe was energetic and genuinely desired to see violence against women in South Africa come to an end. It was also clear that Thenjiwe was a self motivated young woman who was an activist at heart. I would discover that like many of the young activists I have had the honor of knowing, Thenji works from her heart which she allows to feel deeply. She moves from instinct and as such she moves to where she feels she is needed most. She leads from her heart also and the ability to be compassionate and generous with her resources and her time is what distinguishes her among her peers and draws them close to her.
At 24 years old, Thenji is an accomplished young woman. She holds degrees in anthropology and human rights law. Her efforts to end violence against women and girls date back several years to when she was a high school student. then she was active within the student body, talking to her peers, both boys and girls about the damage caused by sexual violence and rape.
During her years at Rhodes University, Thenji continued her activism for the safety of girls on campus. she was voted the Rhodes University top 100 students for community work (activism ).
Sadly Thenji's years at Rhodes were marred by the rape and death of some of her close friends, something which continues to haunt her today. The death of her friends galvanized her to work harder to end the scourge of rape that characterizes life for young women in South Africa. Thenjiwe was also a Youth of Choice #Champion for Change#,  who assisted newly matriculated students to find their way to their university classes. She used her expertise and motivation to assist students overcome obstacles as difficult as not being accepted to the course of their choice.
My first encounter with Thenji the activist was in May when we stood in solidarity with our Nigerian sisters to demand the return of over 200 school girls abducted at night from a boarding school in Chibok by Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has wreaked havoc in Northern Nigeria. Even before the call to action went out, Thenji and her southern African sisters had already mounted a powerful social media campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Sisters in Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe coordinated a demonstrations that took place on the streets and outside the Nigerian embassies in these countries. Johannesburg, Cape town and Grahams town witnessed Risings for the girls of Chibok organized by Thenji and other passionate activists. The social media campaign continued unabated and we kept the sisters in Nigeria energized by tagging them to all the actions that were going on across the African continent. Thenji surprised her sister and fellow activist Nyasha Sengayi by showing up in Harare for a community dialogue about the security of girls in schools.

Last week Thenjiwe organized the 8th  Annual silent protests for the end to rape and sexual violence.

The powerful images from the protests require no explanation. However what these images demonstrate to me is the absolute necessity for South Africa to Rise up and work in whatever ways are possible to end rape and the epidemic of violence against women in the country.
Young activists like Thenjiwe are in this struggle because they realize that this is about their very survival and unless they lead revolutions and cause transformation then they are in danger and so are the women who will come after them.  The call to the rest of us is to support encourage and capacitate these young leaders and to be a community from which they draw on for their work.
This blog is to celebrate you Thenjiwe this women's month and to thank you for your dedication to a cause which many of your age would rather have nothing to do with. Thank you for answering YES to the call and for leading by example. I bow! Ngiyabonga daughter of the soil!