HerStory

Stories about IYWD's involvement with young women in the community

In Our Quest To Take Up Space

Sandra Zenda - Programs Coordinator (IYWD). 

Many have perceived us (women) to be weaklings, to be beggars

When we shout, when we voice our motto - Her Right of Way, Give Way;

They think we are beggars;

They think we are weak and that we are demanding to have everything on a silver plate

    

On a lighter note, we celebrate English literature, we celebrate how rich it is;

We celebrate how it gives us a good opportunity to use similes to present our case in ‘parables’

Today, we will use a language that most people understand from basic laws of driving

When a car approaches a give way sign,

It is the sign which instructs a car facing it to give way to it

To give way to the car behind the Give Way sign

That does not mean the car behind the Give Way sign is weak

It means that car has played its part in the journey it took,

It played its part when it travelled a journey from a point source up to the Give Way;

It is only then that it now needs to be recognised for its efforts and now has a Right of Way

    

Right there, behind the Give Way sign, the car will be telling a story

It will be telling a story and showing evidence of a battle fought and won

The car would have played a part;

It travelled a distance;

It had to conquer simply being parked at home.

It may have been broken just before it started its journey

But it had to conquer its brokenness,

It may have been helped by mechanics to get up but still,

It was its inner strength that allowed it to be repairable and to refuse to be beyond repair

Then it started its journey

Who knows how many battles it fought, home many breakdowns along its way?

Yet the car persisted and as a sign of VICTORY, it got to the Give Way Sign

Right there, at the Give Way sign, the car legally has an unquestionable RIGHT OF WAY

    

So tell us not that being behind a Give Way sign is a show of a “car’s” weakness, NO,

It is rather a recognition of the toil, the determination,

The strength it underwent up until the laws of the road merged and agreed that no,

This car now deserves to be treated like royalty;

That at this point, all other traffic has to stop and give it its Right of Way.

Also, even just its’ crossing the Give way sign is also a sign of its strength and determination

The car could have just chosen to stop;

To stop and forever revel in the beauty of causing all traffic to pave way for its crossing

But no, it has so much determination,

That it would rather accept recognition for a moment,

Be helped just but for a moment but then leave the stage for another like it

So it would also get to the Give Way sign and be accorded the same momentary honour.

    

As women, as young women, we are like that car

We have our motto, Her right of way, Give Way

See us not as weaklings we beg, no, we command, we don’t beg!!

We travelled a journey

We did not just wake up and start demanding to have our right of way

We broke some bondages, we broke some rules, some norms that held us back

The road was not smooth, it was rough,

We broke down many-a-times.

We fell and we thought we would never rise

But every time, we rose again and we continued our journey

We followed the road.

    

Then we got to the Give Way sign

It is now that we shout Her Right of Way, Give way

We do not want pity, we do not demand to be given a right of way on a silver platter,

We demand a right of way because it is our right

We followed the path we had to take

The path that all Buffalo soldiers had to take....

Buffalo soldiers who were once enslaved but now fight for freedom

So now we demand,

    

It is not mercy we seek because it is our turn, it is Our Right of Way now

We scream, we raise our voices we want not individual justice,

We are also our sister’s keepers, we cannot be free alone;

So we fight for every woman, we fight for Her……

Her Right of Way; Give Way

 

     

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