AfriBlog // Myths, Lessons and Accounts



9 August 1956 Womens March

Celebrating Women Heroes of our Time
- 23 August 2016

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, though I’m certain the one above boasts a least 20 000!

Each generation has its heroes and I am very excited to be alive to see more women heroes surfacing and celebrated. It's a wondrous culture its norm should not be taken for granted.
The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to an end and perhaps the 2 names we shan’t soon forget are Caster Semenya and Wayde Van Niekerk.

Each of these two athletes achieved outstanding results at the championship, yet the story that remains far more remarkable in my mind is the support, teamwork, preparations and mental strength crucial to attain such remarkable results.

With each athlete’s interview you cannot ignore the amount of sacrifice and dedication each invests in their craft. Thousands of hours of preparation for a moment that lasts less than 2 minutes. In fact the irony in the rule seems to be that the more time you spend in preparation results in such precision to further decrease the duration of the event. Wayde Van Niekerk achieved an explosive 43.03 over a 400m distance, making him the fastest man in recorded history to ever achieve such a result. How you can work so hard for such a brief moment of delivery truly escapes me!!

Anna Botha But all this you may have heard already, yet the story that remains phenomenal is the fact that Wayde’s trainer is Anna Botha. This 74-year-old great-grandmother is the genius behind this young man’s success is a truly phenomenal being. When you hear Wayde talk about this awesome lady that “She’s kept me very disciplined on the goal and where I need to be” - you realise that it keeps playing to the same theme we have all come to cherish yet conveniently ignore. And that is women are indeed the very soul of our nation.

Anna’s strength and wisdom is interestingly comparable to the heroes of her time. In South Africa we commemorate 9 August as Women’s Day, marking the day 20 000 women of all races marched against the Apartheid government with petitions to abolish the pass laws. Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Nahima Moosa and Sophia Williams and the 20 000 strong women achieved an astounding result through sheer female strength, such that the feat still echoes through the stretch of time - 60 years in 2016!

Caster Mokgathi Semenya - 800m World Champion Talk about ‘emerging victorious against all odds’, the name Caster Semenya has now become synonymous with the phrase. This young woman faced (and still continues to sustain) insults at perhaps the greatest scale possible. The World community persecuted her. Yet true to what we have come to adore about women, she stuck to her guns; kept her head high and taught us all yet another unforgettable lesson on diligence. Against all odds Caster Semenya rose from the web of confusion we spun around her back to the glorious, golden Olympian she once was and always hoped to be remembered. If there was ever a story depicting a modern day Phoenix, Caster’s would aptly fit. Deeply inspiring.

I keep drawing inspiration from women. I do not know how they muster the strength to face adversity as they do; yet I remain in awe and totally stupefied by their grace and power. I am eternally inspired. To all women reading this article, Thank you for being who you are.

The one song that captures the essence of this blog must be Tutu Puoane’s Mangakane from her album ‘Quiet Now’.
- written by MegaMidas
Musician at Africappella

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