OPINION: It is tough being a parent

Phiri Cawe

Her voice trembling as she spoke, she called me to say how scared she was to travel to school by bus every day.

For a few seconds I was numb for I know her pain. She added that it was more scary to meet men along the way to school or on her way back to the bus terminus.

These are just some of the things you have to deal with when you’re the parent of a girl child in South Africa. I have never been this numb, confused and angry. It’s a tough time to be a parent.

The death of Uyinene Mrwetyana has shaken us all from our comfort zones and her death is a constant reminder how short and fragile life is. The abduction, rape and killing of girls and women have become a major problem.

But what is the solution to this madness? Should we be blaming one another?

Since Uyinene’s killing, rightly so, fingers have been pointing at men. We have also been blaming the government for our shortfalls. But in this sad time of the passing of Uyinene and many other girl children, we should unite and seek solutions. I know how worrying and painful it is to have a girl child.

But let’s think about the difficulty of having a boy child. A boy used to be the pride of the family. It was deemed that they will head the families and grow them. But is it the same today? My answer would be no. Parents of boys should now be more worried because they do not know the kind of monster they could be bringing up. Should we be asking if parenting is the problem here? Are we teaching our boy children to love their sisters? And what role does the patriarchal nature of society or tribalism play?

Whether we blame drugs, single parenting or the lack of role models, society has changed.

The media has played its part in raising awareness about child abuse, domestic violence and human rights.

Have we been listening or reading? Have we forgotten?

Until we deal with the killings and abduction of girl children, this country is not the beautiful country it is marketed as being. Until we live a better quality of life, we will always be angry.

Until we act together when something is wrong, we continue to fear for our lives.

For now, take it from me, this country is a disaster. Hear this from me, this country lacks proper leadership and the will to shape itself to be a better country for its people. Maybe I am unpatriotic. Maybe I want a price to be paid for the life of Uyinene.