As the world marks the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, nowhere else in the world does statistics point to a grim and terrible picture on the state of a woman than in Africa. Yes, tremendous and tangible progress has been made and more women and girls are increasingly becoming aware of their rights and place in the contemporary society. And yes, countries like Rwanda can boast of having the highest number of women representation in parliament across the globe.
And yes, the city woman who resides in a lavish neighbourhood within the confines of a nation's capital city continues to scale up the ladders of success, albeit with some challenges.
But just what's happening to the poor suburb woman who just hears of women's rights organizations through the stereo radio or through a breeze of wind? What's happening to that woman who has grown to be the subject of physical torture from her belligerent husband?
Although reports would attest to improved gender sensitivity, the more destitute African woman and girl child continues to be sidelined in matters education, equal opportunities, development access to basic services and et cetera, while cases of rape, domestic violence and other forms of abuse are still commonplace.
Nowhere else is this more manifested and magnified than on the ever in the periphery and lawless Horn of African nation of Somalia. This is where women and children are ever in the crossfire. This is where sounds of bullets ripping through walls, and at times, bodies have become like an inhale-exhale kind of exercise. This is where the conscience of the world has not been touched, yet, innocent and helpless citizens continue to succumb, while many others, fleeing incessant conflict, have marched in earnest towards already flocked and chocked refugee camps sandwiched between dreadful diseases and degenerated healthcare systems.
The world has and continues to watch, with neither the so called Superpowers nor the branded third-world nations acting in a manner commensurate with the seriousness of the insurgency.
Nevertheless, the Somali woman, barely with a Herculean build, continues to have heart and spirit to surge on, in a life marked by a back-breaking daily struggle to make ends meet. She wakes up at the crack of dawn and kicks the day off with the prime motive to put food on the table, feed her family. She sleeps during odd hours of the night, knowing that what she has provided for the day has just but only saved the day. But even in her sleep, at times barely peaceful, the intrigues of the following day sweeps across her mind.
This is the life of that African woman some of us live with, while most of us only imagine her presence. The life of a woman who lives - the end justifies the means - life, where not water, not shelter, not food nor security is promise-able, let alone assured.
In spite of all these, they show unprecedented valour and unparalleled resilience. That's why methinks that an African woman has the potency and knack to participate in all cycles of life. She is capable of improving her life and that of her family without having to break that extra sweat.
In this 21st Century, I have not only seen the emergence of a DIY (Do It Yourself) woman, but a whole different woman.
Today, I see a more and more modernizing African woman who has shown she has that insatiable appetite to invest in the stock market, has that mettle and drive to participate in infrastructure development, has the brain to initiate and execute holistic and innovative approach towards technological advancement, has the capability and eagerness to haul off and charter a family out of choppy waters of deprivation into an oasis of food security, and most of all, has all it takes to exorcise from stereotypical tagging and gender-based bombardment.
If Liberia - the first and only African nation to have a female president so far - is not evidential enough, then Rwanda, where women are increasingly taking control should be some evidence.
Although we are making progress, albeit slowly, the rise and rise of an African woman deserves praise, salute and support from all cycles. Some men are and will be miffed that their impregnable status as the kings of the land are under threat, but who said leadership is men's territory and they should remain pegged there?
Oh Mama Africa, I salute you Mama Africa.
And that's the Steifmastertake!