The 8th of March is International women's day. The day we celebrate womanhood, women's rights and women's achievements. I think some of the essence of the day is not there in the DRC particularly in Lubumbashi. Yesterday i attended the event organised for women's day in town and as i left the house in the morning i put on my jeans, a t-shirt and was on my way. All i could hear on the way was "we do not want trousers", ma pantallon hakuna, leo ni shiku ya bikwembe". My spellings of french and swahili words are very bad but i comprehend the languages very well. Translated this means we do not want trousers, today is the day for African attires, long skirts and dresses. Some women even came up to me to warn me not to go into town because "vatapasula", they will tear your jeans off. Some said they would beat me and from every car that was passing, someone was shouting "no trousers". some people called me stubborn and indecent. This surprised me because on the 7th just the day before i had been wearing trousers and noone said such things to me. I was so afraid that i hired a taxi to go to work where i was going to pick up my dress for the day.
You should have seen the women here yesterday, they all looked beautiful in the many colorful dresses and wraps it was so exciting. Roads were blocked along the venue for the event and it was so wonderful. There was a lot of traffic yesterday and women throughout the country were given a day off from work to celebrate. Underlying all this celebration were patriarchal dents everywhere. Who was really the star of the day? this question kept surfacing in my mind. Was it really women's day? Or it was a hoax for men to reestablish patriarchal norms that second graded women. Whose rules were we following? Do people really understand what women's day is about? Which woman was being celebrated? To me it seemed as if we were celebrating the woman the men all want, the one they can rule and dictate to, the one they can abuse and conquer. I was very disappointed. One girl was protected by the police near marche Mzee after a group of men chased her into a shop where she took refuge on account of a pair of pants? Is women's day about clothes?
I would like to hear from those who enjoyed women's day what happened/ what did you do?International Women's Day 2012