"I grew up raised by two parents who were farmers, but as I grew up, I hated farming." That's one of the first things I heard as I met with Ntuba Masena, the owner of a fruit and vegetable drying business in Lesotho. Ntuba remembered spending long days plowing the fields with her parents, and as a result, agriculture was the last thing on her mind. It's safe to say that it has been an unusual journey for the 61-year-old retired nurse who had reinvented herself as an entrepreneur and small business owner.
I hated the question, “Who is circumcised in this class? This question was often asked by my literature teacher when we were reading, “The River Between” by professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o. One of the characters, Muthoni, dies after being circumcised.
It all began with young girls, later, to be women grew up with no, or little rights, no voice and no choice, even to choose who to marry. On the other hand, men and boys were considered born with divine supremacy over women. Only men could think and act right, and they enjoyed total influence over the women in their households and sometimes outside them. A man’s power over women was absolute, omnipresent and unquestionable and our patriarchal society trained women to accept and live with it. Otherwise it was a taboo.
Growing up in the slums of Kawangware, gender-based violence (GBV) was no new term.
My earliest recollection of GBV is of my father, who was a drunkard shirker who jumped on any prospect to physically hit my mother. There had to be a reason to justify her swelling black eye.
It has now been more than five months since the last case of female murders was reported in Entebbe.
Between July and September 2017, 23 women were brutally attacked, battered, raped and murdered by strangulation. Wooden sticks were found inserted in their private parts, each left for dead in the cold town near Lake Victoria, and with them - a wake of fear among women across the country. By the 17th murder, former Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, broke the silence by blaming the murders on jilted lovers, arresting 44 murder suspects and charging 22 in courts of law.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is still a widespread problem in Rwanda, with women remaining the primary people affected. However, the country is known to be a pace setter in the fight against this epidemic. Innovative national strategies and policies have been initiated by the government to eliminate GBVand promote gender equality at all levels.
Gender-based violence (GBV) has largely been understood as the act of violence against women. Hence society forgets that men also suffer the same way that women do, or even worse.
It wasn’t until I began to share my own story of survival that I realized how vulnerable men were to GBV. Two years ago, I was raped and I conceived a child as a result. I was 19-years-old at the time, but since the incident, I have written and spoken extensively about the aftermath of my rape. I cannot say that I don't think about my rape on a regular basis, instead it has just become a part of my primordial goo that courses through my veins and makes me who I am.
The communities of Kibaale East, Kamwenge, where I work and stay, lack informal and formal support structures that help girls, survivors and young mothers to cope with gender-based violence (GBV).
Each year, the World Bank offices in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda host a Blog4Dev contest, inviting young people throughout the country to share their views on a topic of our choosing.
Last week we saw two Ivorian women, Murielle Ahouré and Marie-Josée Ta Lou, fly past the finish line in a historic one-two finish in the 60 meters sprint at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England while Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba triumphed in a gritty 800 meters race. From the 60 meters to the 3000 meters, African women graced the podium or were not far from it, a testament to their athletic prowess.