Amidst the gloom that is threatening to overpower me, I thought I should find something to restore my faith that we shall overcome. We do need to keep the faith, and doing the work that goes with it.
Everywhere I turn it looks as if the country is experiencing a bout of serious hives. Add to that behaviours that look like lunacy, you might start to feel that Justice Malala is right that “we have now begun our descent“. From the old scourge of sexual violence that has seems to taken another turn to the burning of schools, from new reports of high levels of unemployment to brawls in parliament, from a racist judge to a scandal-prone president who is capable of every ridiculous thing you can think of but preside, from the drought that had the country in a dry grip to slipping to 3rd place in the stakes of Africa’s largest economies, our young democracy needs news to make us believe in our collective future.
So for some good stories about our country. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap indicated that South Africa is one of the top 20 countries countries in the global rankings. That is 20th out of 145 countries. Namibia is one place higher, and Rwanda is 6th, and they should make all Africans proud. However, until we are number 1, and every girl and boy in this country has the same opportunity and freedom to flourish, we got work to do.
You may be wondering about the fact that we rank high on the measure yet many females fear walking alone at night, o even climbing up Table Mountain in Cape Town during the day. It can be confusing.
It simply means instruments like the Global Gender Gap measure certain things and not everything related to gender inequality. It suggests that gender is connected to more than political participation, which is where South Africa does better than most. It means that, although a high ranking on the global gender rankings helps in boosting hope, we need, once again, to have every boy and girl in this country and every country across the world enjoy the same opportunity and freedom so that they can live without fear and be whatever they want to be.
But this is good news. Having a voice in how your country is run is absolutely important. Still, we, the people, women and men, not the president or judges, have a massive amount of work to realise the constitutional ideal of equality to its fullest extent.