This week in the African Women’s Blogsphere

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism on violence against women and children in which women and their organisations organise activities around the world aimed at ending gender violence.

Some African women bloggers have been blogging to raise awareness on this issue.

Black Looks writes about a report from the World Health Organisation on domestic violence that contains disturbing and alarming statistics and that indicates that domestic violence is more prevalent than had been realised. She goes on to say that the reality of gender violence is that ’there is no country where abuse is not taking place’ and violence against women is not just an issue for women but is an issue for all.

Although she believes drawing attention to the campaign against violence against women is important, Bronwyn writes that more needs to be done such as establishing an on-going media campaign, women’s shelters, outreach programmes and other relevant actions and asks a pertinent question: ‘what happens on day 17′ when the media spotlight is turned off and politicians move on to other issues?

Making the link between gender violence and HIV infection, AfroFeminista highlights the campaigning activities being undertaken by some organisations in Kenya and says gender violence ‘is leaving many women and girls at risk of HIV infection and by extension the men and children in our lives’.

African women are also blogging about other issues.

Because she feels culture and social background, usually taken for granted, should be constantly questioned, Helenism writes about a debate regarding an archaic and sexist marriage ritual and the resulting excellent and thoughtful explanation on why she considers herself a feminist.

In the aftermath of the recently-held Referendum on the Constitution, Kenyan Pundit writes about her concern regarding the absence of women in the campaigning and the fact that some members ‘of the Orange team campaigned strongly against the [draft constitution] on the basis that women will be allowed to “take all the land” and other inaccuracies’.

In light of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf becoming the president of Liberia, Mama JunkYard is impressed by the rising numbers of African women in leadership and says a developed country such as the United Kingdom has ‘to contend with falling out of the top 50 (19.8% places them at 51) and also deal with the realisation that they have been out ranked by Iraq 31.5%) and Tunisa’.


  • Response to Bronwyn’s “what happens on day 17”. What happens is that each one of us continues to raise awareness of violence against women whether by continuing to write about it, challenging abusive male behaviour and language, supporting women who we know are in violent relationships, supporting girls who are being physically or sexually abused, for those of us with sons, thinking about how we raise them up and so on. The purpose of the 16 days is to highlight the violence and hopefully that will encourage people to do as I suggest above.

  • Sokari, I get your point and of course it’s a good one. Perhaps looking at the situation in SA I’ve just become too cynical. I’m not saying 16 Days is a waste of time, if it influences ordinary people to change their violent behaviour that is a blessing. But for 16 Days we watch politicians making speeches and every one of them has something to say, and then boom, the 16 Days are over and the subject disappears back into the woodwork, only to be dusted off and brought out into the light of day the following year when the campaign rolls around again. 16 Days is great, it’s wonderful and I am behind it 100 percent. I just think that in South Africa we need so much more than 16 days of attention. But is is a good start and hopefully it will lead to more long term solutions.

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