Being black and a woman in Africa

Being Black and A Woman.

Written Amanda Marufu

1. Being Black

What does it mean to be black? A few years back I wrote a poem called shame on this topic. 

What does it mean to be black?

To be so overridden with hate of self? 

The state, the pain, the lack of self. 

Is it just another way to be enslaved?

See Africans we fake at pride

We laugh at slogans like black lives matter. 

Think we are so morally above the shame. 

Yet we chase the fame, that paved this game?

Our generation, we are not the same.

Pure voices conquered the bleachers and the fakers. 

Singing black is beautiful. 

Then honey why do you indulge the paint?

See there is beauty in our flaws

The tainted messes, the hearts, the racist.

 The sadist, the teacher, all sun kissed creases

But there is no pride in our silence.

We are no heroes when we are afraid. 

With bullet holes bought from social media

And social fame bought with our soul freedom. 

Call it vanity, but we are a black out masterpiece.

Me, my beauty is skin deep

But i am not more than my skin

I am my skin; i am the jewel of Africa. The symbol of pride, love, of freedom. 

The roar of Simba, modelled after the heavens and I shine.

So why do the words on this paper, question the draft of my own sanity. 

Why do we accept the version we’re sold with no thoughts and no clarity

We ignore the gravity of this war

We ignore the gravity of our silence.

For with blood we fought for freedom

But with shame we’ve lost our mental right to be free.

Growing up I didn’t know I was black. Everyone around me was black and despite having multiracial cousins, it wasn’t something anyone talked about. I never knew it as “being different” or even having different skin tones until I went to high school.

 It happened almost automatically, all the black people on one end and the white kids on the other. 

My first friend was one of the few people who for the first few weeks was part of an interracial friendship. Then the bullying started on both ends. The black kids weren’t happy about it, calling her too white;” a coconut”. The white kids told her best friend that she was too black. Imagine that; being too much of yourself. So much, that you found someone who liked you exactly the way you were. 

Then I started realising that it went even deeper than that. Within the white cliques, the Afrikaner students didn’t talk to the British students. Then in our own little kingdom, there were these concepts of colourism and accents. The better English you spoke the more intelligent people thought you were; the more you could be regarded as of a” higher class.”

 What shocked me was as far as I could tell no one even taught us these things, but as plain as day people were too ashamed to speak in Shona because they would seem ’less cool.’ Yet when the white kids spoke in Shona or sang/played some of the local music, like Zim-dancehall, it was regarded as amazing; even praised as being cool and fun. They were experiencing a culture we weren’t allowed to be proud of, in fear of being too black. 

It amazed, sometimes confused, me how these culture paradigms worked. We often learn about how colonization happened so long ago and yet we remain with the consequences today. I was raised to fear n’angas (traditional healers) and svikiros (spirit mediums), yet I’m constantly surrounded tv representations of magic. When it’s done black people it’s called Voodoo and yet when done on tv it’s light magic. 

The racism in my country is subtle, almost invisible. It’s easy to ignore it and claim we don’t need campaigns like black lives matter because we aren’t facing the immediate threat of a white man holding a gun to our heads. But our oppressor has been shown in different ways. Our oppressor comes in the form of the white saviour. 

During a long talk with my best friend we talked about the fallacy that is helping people who never asked for or needed your help. Yet they continue to come anyway. 

They come and tell us our religions and traditions are evil and then go and practice them as if they are new discoveries. When asked about the very God they forced on us they now claim “he doesn’t exist”. They come and tell us how we require permanent structures and force us not to be nomadic; and then they go on to have summer houses and travel to avoid the cold weather.

There’s so much about being a black person that’s been shrouded in shame that we silently accept and even continue to up hold instinctively. We’ve started to think less of ourselves and to expect what’s done a white person to just be better, of better quality or more intelligent. This is done constantly through the media, entertainment, radio and tv. Subconscious Racism. The smartest way to keep us enslaved.

2. Being black and a woman 

Due to the financial situation in Zimbabwe, I wasn’t able to continue with my education. I was sad for a long time. Sometimes even now although I’ve grown and become successful in my own right, I still am sad. 

One of the things that annoyed me was the ‘consolation’ of, “it’s okay, If all else fails you can always get married.” This is quite a common thing that young women I talk to find relatable. Their parents expect it, even encourage it. Marriage is the ultimate goal. 

I remember sitting in the kitchen and often hearing.  “You don’t like doing chores, manje who will marry you?”, “The way you don’t like to cook, better hope you meet a white man.” 

There was never the expectation that maybe marriage wasn’t one of my aspirations or that maybe my life could amount to more than marriage.

Now don’t get me wrong my family is full of badass women who have done so much and so well in their lives. From becoming doctors, to becoming the very first black female president of her company. The women in my family work hard and they excel. But above and beyond all that, they are expected to come back home and submit to a man. We are taught not to make him feel belittled our success and that he still must hold the power. It is the right thing to do both biblically and traditionally. 

So, some people didn’t understand why I was so bummed out about this school thing. Why I was over ambitious and trying to do so much when all my worries could easily be fixed having a ba and a husband. Yet it’s not that simple. Many people have taken away our right to education justifying it with statements like “we don’t need it” or “We aren’t the providers”. After all, we have the option not to work so why not take it. 

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of single mothers worldwide, at 32%. This is before we account for the high divorce rate of over 55%; and then there’s the risk of becoming a widow. What happens then? Then came the other question: what if you just don’t want to get married? Is that even a possibility?

“Here is what we have to understand about your male counterparts. While we may fake orgasms, they fake finances.

—Suze Orman”

A lot changed for me when I heard this;

I was like what?? 


Preach to me some more!! 

In the past few years, I’ve heard so many of the horror stories. Husband handles all the finances and then suddenly dies and the husband’s family takes everything. The kids and the wife are left with nothing. 

Wife does all the work but the house and everything else is put in the man’s name to respect him as the man of the house. Then turns out husband is sleeping with the maid and is calling her the woman of the house. Now the woman is stuck working to feed and facilitate her children’s and her man’s children’s educations with wife number two because the house is in his name and she has nowhere to go. 

It’s insanity! 

For me my reasoning was born of trauma. As a child borne of divorce with a father that never raised me. As a woman who has been raped and abused, physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually, there was no way I was going to ever put my financial trust in another human other than myself. Yet without an education and being a woman, my chances of success where even harder. 

“Statistics do no account for the full person.” 

If I told you my story and I told you that I fell into drugs or became a stripper or even ended up committing suicide (which I tried before), many people wouldn’t be surprised. Sometimes we have all reasons to live and survive stripped from us. I often felt like an alien in my own body and even in my community. I felt like an alien when trying to figure out my sexuality. When trying to fight for the right to speak out about my trauma and even simply just finding the space to breathe and live in a world without fear. It’s 2020 and I still flinch when I’m alone and I see a man walking done the streets. I still run if I see a man walking towards me because even though the mind forgives, the body never forgets. Yet I’m alive and I’m living. 

I’m working to counter the effects of media that tells us that we are not enough. Working to create more platforms that let us know that we can aspire to be more than a wife. I’m living proof of black women in power. CEO of three tech and media companies. Creating and leveraging resources for women and young children to help spread access to education.

I am black

I am woman

I am pansexual 

I am more than a statistic

I exist. 

A Liberating New Years Eve

Spending Christmas alone was nothing new for me. After years of tears and Christmas afternoons turned Christmas night crying, I much preferred to be alone. Once Christmas passed then there was New Year. I can’t say I haven’t had great New Year memories but I’ve had a lot of alone New Year memories too but this was a whole new low or so I thought.

Although I talk about the outcome in my book, ‘At What Age Does My Body Belong To Me?’ coming January 26 2021. What I didn’t mention was how I ended up in that situation. 

It was New Years Eve and as usual as the rest of the family went to the farm, Whilst, I opted to spend my time alone at home. Home was safe and home was a welcome reprieve. 

I was talking to some friends over app and they insisted that I shouldn’t have to spend the night alone. Let’s all go out and have fun they said. 

The beginning of the night was great. They even came to pick me up as we all congregated for pre-drinks at my friends house. There was loud music blaring and drinks being poured every other second and although I don’t quite know how the decision was made soon there was plans for hitting H2O.  Ps: If you’re young and my age. Remember H2O? 

Finally! Finally, I get to party my way into the new year I kept jeering to myself. 

As we all piled into the taxi, he mentioned again that we all had to pay for the entrance and he would take care of the taxi and I checked my pockets for the money to make sure for the hundredth time that night that it was indeed there. 

Once we arrived, it was the usual hustle and bustle from excited, drunk teens. Everyone was moving, dancing, screaming and just making noise and once again I was excited. 

As we approached the doors everyone started to go in and then I noticed that the money was no longer in my pockets. I emptied my pockets and started frantically searching starting to panic. 

I pulled my friends hand before he could go in and tried to explain the situation to him.

“But I told you, you had to cover the entrance fee.” he was shouting over the blaring music.

“I know, I know, I think someone stole it. I swear it was just in my pocket just now.” I screamed, still frantically searching.

He paused for a second looking in my eye before saying, “alright wait here, I’ll get one of the organizers then come and get you.” 

I nodded for okay and moved to the side to let the rest of the people in. I kept touching my pocket. Cursing myself out for not having put it in the safest pockets of all. My boobs. 

I grabbed my phone and started texting other people who were here now embarrassed to just be standing idly the door.

A lot of promises were made with other friends insisting they would come out to get me shortly and before I knew it an hour had passed and it was almost time for the count down. 

Some people were starting to come outside from the bar and I was slowly watching my phone battery begin to drain with panic in my eyes. 

I had no money and everyone seemed too occupied to answer the phone or help so I was stuck there watching the happy and excited faces of everyone else around me.

As my phone battery dwindled. I heard everyone around me begin the count down.






“Happy New Year!”

As fireworks erupted and everyone around me screamed I couldn’t help but feel a tear run down my cheek. Would this punctuate how the year would be for me? 

Standing alone in a parking lot with no way to get home? 

I started walking up and down the village walk. Stuck in between my need to break down and cry and my constant persistence of looking at the bright side. 

After another hour had passed I found myself once again standing outside H20 when I heard a voice from behind me. 

”Hey, I know you, you’re friends with (insert friends name here) right?”

”Yeah,” I replied, relieved for a familiar face, ”You seen him or anyone else that we were with?”

”Yeah they left soon after the countdown. There’s a festival thing happening. I can take you there if you want.”

”Yes, please.” I said excited for my first glimpse of good luck. ”Can I charge my phone in your car?”

”Sure, ” he said, ”let me just get the rest of my crew then we can go.”

After a few minutes he was back with some very drunk friends. I told them all what had happened which gave them entertainment and they promised to take me home, if we couldn’t track down my friends. 

I manged to get my phone on 1% to call them but their phones were now off and mine was refusing to charge so I was just relieved I had a ride home. 

Once we reached the festival, I started to hear more change of plans. There was another party and there were more people and suffice to say, no friends, no money and no phone and I found myself in a strangers house.

And now for an excerpt borrowed directly from the book:

This guy seemed nice enough at first. Said I could sleep over until the morning when I could go home or my friends came back, even offered me the bed and said he would sleep in the lounge. After some time, everyone slowly passed out and I was alone in a bed. Now I can hear the haters saying what were you thinking? 

Honestly, I don’t know. 

It was either trying to find my way home in the dark with no money and a phone that had no battery or here. 

After almost an hour, this guy was suddenly sneaking into the room.

“I’m not gonna touch you,” he said, “it’s just a bit cold out there.”

I almost laughed at how ridiculous that sounded but whatever right, he could sleep and I could sleep. 

After a while he started with the slide of his hand, treading a little too close to my body and I pushed it away. He pretended to shift like he was fast asleep and an all too familiar thought started to creep in.

I sat up, “can we talk?” 

“Sure,” he said.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” he replied feigning ignorance.

“Don’t touch me, you touch me again and I’m going to hurt you.”

He chuckled and coughed a little,

“I didn’t mean anything it, it’s just a little fun, you know.”

“I’m serious,’ I answered in a stern voice.

“Okay, just wanted us to warm each other up,” he replied.

I shifted further away from him and went back to sleep. Another while passed with no movement and I thought maybe just maybe he had gotten the message. 

But of course, he tried again. Starting with the shifting, he stretched his arm out and I shouted out a loud, “No!” 

I was beyond pissed off now. 

I knew he would try again and surprise, surprise he did.

I could feel him stretch his arm out and as soon as he did, I turned and I bit him right in the arm as hard as I could until I could taste blood and swung my leg at his balls.

“What the fuck, bitch!” He screamed as he jumped out of the bed.

“I told you not to fucking touch me!” 

I stood on the bed ready to fight him, “I told you.”

I was really shouting now, ‘I fucking told you!’ 

“So that made you fucking bite me?” he answered walking backwards towards the door.

“You try to touch me and I will kill you, I dare you to try me.”

“You’re a fucking psycho he said,” as he banged the door and I could hear him swear under his breath.

I ran towards the door and locked it. Then started searching for something I could use to hit him with if he tried to come back.

I know it sounds crazy now but I was done. Done with being taken advantage of, done having men think they have a right to my body. 

I was angry and I was done and for the first time in my life I was ready to kill anyone who tried to touch me without my consent ever again.

He never came back and later my friend would tell me that now the guys were scared of me. Said I couldn’t handle a little fun.

I told them that they couldn’t handle a no and therefore didn’t deserve to have a little fun. I could no longer allow myself to be silenced.

I was still angry at the friends who never came and insisted, they had tried to find me but I had also learnt that asking for help wasn’t a license to my body. 

As I walked back home the next day, I still had no money. I was felt a strange type of happiness in my chest. It was another new year’s that I had spent alone but it was liberating to finally accept my right to say no and my willingness to fight if anyone ever challenged it. 

I don’t know what’s coming for me this end of year but I do know I’m grateful for everything 2020 has brought even the sad and hard moments had lessons so I would love to say to everyone. Merry Christmas and I hope your New Year’s Eve isn’t quite as eventful as mine. 

Love from Amanda Tayte-Tait

Save me, Save yourself, Save everyone

I survived

Many people have called me brave for speaking out. Strong. Even powerful. Most days I’ve just felt unlucky. 

See so many people asked me so many questions. 

”Did it hurt?”

“Was I sure?”

“What did I wear?”

“I probably liked it.”

“Wasn’t I just being naughty.” 

The worst question, the absolute worst was, “was it a bad rape, because it couldn’t be that bad if I wasn’t physically hurt.”

If you ask me why I chose to write, ‘At What Age Does My Body Belong To Me?’ The answer is simple. I needed to speak out. Even If it was just to show one person that they weren’t alone. I needed to speak out. 

The bigger reason is I needed to know the answer to that question. It’s simple right. You might be tempted to say at birth. Yet when I walk down the street I’m still greeted loud sneering and whispers. Sometimes unwanted touches that turn to anger as I say no. That turn to anger as I fight back. 

See they are angry at my audacity to deny them of my body but who told them that it was theirs to take? 

Us as survivors we’ve become statistics and every year during 16 days of activism and during days of awareness these statistics are shared across the interwebs and they remain just that sad figures but we forget that these are real lives being affected. These are real people with names. 

My name is Amanda Marufu and I want you to remember that as you read this. 

’1 in 3 female rape victims experience it for the first time between 11-17 years old’

I was much younger than 11 the first time, broken in the place I was meant to call home

The second time, I was a teen held down a man who had sworn to protect me from the shadows I was trying to escape from at home. 

See that stat represents two things. Out of every crowd you see the number of girls who’ve been raped increases as the number of girls in that room grows. The second thing most times it doesn’t happen just once. 

We don’t discuss rape or abuse because it’s too ugly a word and we don’t want to admit that it’s still happening. Yet here I am, 24 years old and I still have nightmares. I still flinch a little when someone touches me. I still crouch when someone raises their voice a little too loudly. I still wish I could fight more than I wish for anything else in the world. I still wish I could protect myself from those that lurk in the light right in front of society and right in front of all seeing eyes.

I always used to ask myself if so many girls are being raped why does everyone pretend they don’t know a rapist. That it’s not indeed happening right in front of their eyes. 

Why does everyone still make jokes that insinuate that a Womens body is not her own and pretend that it is not problematic. Stop pretending because it is all problematic. 

And now for some very valid, very angry replies to stupid questions.

Disclaimer: it is not my job to make you feel better about your internalized guilt and I’m not here to tell you that it’s okay. IT’S NOT. 

1. If you feel like you should have protected your child better or done better You should have. There’s nothing more I can say on this. 

Look there’s NO ONE else to blame for rape and abuse but the perpetrators and we can agree on that.

But if your child spoke up and you did nothing. That’s on you.

If your child told you they felt uncomfortable around a certain person and you forced them to stay around that person anyway. That’s on you.

If you have an uncle, Sekuru calling your child my wife and asking them to sit on his lap and they are uncomfortable. STOP IT.

Protect your child. Let’s stop using culture and religion as an excuse to let people get away with their abusive tendencies. 

If your child came out about their abuse and you still because you were too scared to disrupt the family unit, forced them to stay around their abuser.

You should have done better. You should have believed your child. You should have never forced them in close proximity with someone they didn’t feel safe around.

I hear a lot of there was no way to know. They were a child. They accused the pastor of rape or he was such a good man and sooooo? So fucking what?? 

Let’s stop pretending rape happens in dark corners with monsters and Gauls from the underworld. It’s happening at home, at schools, at churches. By the same people who will smile at you and hold your hand and give you a prayer the next day. 

It’s happening right infront of your face, abuse does not happen in a vacuum. So yes you can do better.

2. Fuck outta here with the I’m now scared to have sex because I’ll be accused of rape or now I’m too scared to even approach a girl.

Good! Bloody Great! 

If you’re scared you’ll think twice , think a third time and wait to hear a yes. 

Do you feel safe walking alone at night? 

717,527 people worldwide over 68 million days of activity. They found that in countries all over the world, girls and women walk less than boys and men.

You might be wondering why that’s relevant and let me tell you. 

While learning a course on supporting victims of domestic abuse, I learnt this: 

On average women are scared of the most basic of human things. Walking. On average women just don’t feel safe walking alone. We are constantly scared. So yes, yes Jared you can afford to be scared and think twice before touching a woman. Before approaching a woman. Before doing anything. 

We think twice before crossing the street, getting into a kombie, a taxi or a car. Before walking through town in a dress because we will be harassed. When we hear footsteps coming up behind us. When a man decides to start swearing at us because we refused to give them our number. We think twice every single time we are alone in a public place. When we decide to drink in a club. When we are at work and we are placed in the position to either stay quiet or lose our job. Stay quiet or be failed at school. Be kicked out of school. We think twice every single day because we never feel safe. We are always scared. 

Because as Natalie Jester stated, 

“I don’t think men really understand the degree to which women feel unsafe.”

Read a few of these articles, on walking.

Last year, a US-based activist posed a hypothetical question to women on Twitter. “What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?”

The responses were shocking in their simplicity:

Go for a run

Walk in the woods

Sit on the beach at night

Listen to music with both earbuds in

Does it really affect you that much to just care about the person you are partaking in sexual intercourse with. I think not. 

Ask for consent. Consent isn’t silence. Consent is agreement. It’s a yes, anything else is not consent. So yes if you are going for a women and she doesn’t give you her consent. Please feel free to be scared. If for any second you feel doubt in your mind because you are not completely sure of her enjoyment. STOP!!

Just STOP! Ask, make sure she is comfortable. She is feeling pleasure and if at any point she says stop, then stop. Blue balls will NOT kill you. It’s really simple to be a decent guy so be one. If you feel inconvenience having to pause for two seconds and ask then you shouldn’t be touching her body anyway. 

Please and thank you. 

Love Amanda Tayte-Tait

Sexual harassment on LinkedIn

What does it mean to be safe?

”Ask a man what his greatest fear is about serving jail time, and he will almost inevitably say he fears being raped. What can we deduce from the fact that jail is to men what life is to so many women?”

Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger

This is a piece I originally did in early 2020 before Quarantine and COVID 19 having forced the world to stop. Yet it’s even more important now as working from home has shone the light on the digital gender divide, online gender-based violence, and the choices we are constantly faced with as women working online. 

For many men being on an online platform like LinkedIn is simple. It’s a professional platform they utilize to make connections and advance their careers.

For women, the truth isn’t at all so simple. Sexual Harassment of women online and offline isn’t a new topic but it’s to see that even professional platforms like Linkedin are still rampant breeding grounds for Harassment.

Last year we partnered with Hedone to do an article on Online Gender-Based Violence which you can find here and one thing is clear. The online world echoes the offline world and all the violence and harassment we face offline is rampant on the internet. 

As a people we have grown up with the misconception that abuse only means rape but what is Sexual Harassment defined as.

According to the Human Rights Commission; ‘Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behavior, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It can be physical, verbal, or written.

A single incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment – it doesn’t have to be repeated.’

Trying to see the extent of this harassment I started making a conscious effort to connect with people on LinkedIn and one thing was evident. 

There was a mixture of interactions and these were my results. A few men blatantly went from hi to calling you beautiful and asking to go for lunch. A few genuine job opportunities one that I am now pursuing with a female-led company and then the drastic ones who asked for your number straight from the first interaction and started using words like babe and would even persist sending messages when they didn’t receive a reply. 

According to LinkedIn: distribution of global audiences 2019, gender

During the survey period, 43 percent of LinkedIn audiences were female and 57 percent were male.

At first glance, this could mean absolutely nothing but when you take a closer look at the culture and growing rates of Harassment on LinkedIn you begin to notice several women who are more and more feeling fed up with the site and opting out instead.

According to human resources online, ‘Some women like Andrea Myles are taking matters into their own hands. Tired of the level of harassment on LinkedIn she took to pretending to be a man on LinkedIn so she could use the service in relative peace.’

Last year I also took a small survey with 5 groups of women averaging around 500 women and it was evident that almost all of them had dealt with sexual harassment at some point or another.

Below are a few of the stories the ladies had to share and some pieces of advice. Names have been kept anonymous to protect their identity.

”So this has been happening all the time on LinkedIn. I’m talking real grown men with influential positions in the corporate world. The scary part is that this even happened when my profile picture was 14 year old me (it was the only picture I could access when I created the account). At first, these men dm me talking about what they do and how they can help then boom they’re talking about their “needs”. 

The worst one was a perv that claimed to be a software engineer in America, single and a virgin. He said he was looking for a wife and he was 56 years old. He didn’t even say hie, he went straight to the point.”

‘’ Yes this has happened to me so many times, how to reply to them: 

“Your comments are inappropriate. I have no interest in communicating with you beyond discussing our areas of professional intersect. If you wish to continue interacting, you will have to communicate with me with dignity, decency, and respect.”

Beyond asking if you are well, there is no need for a person to know any other detail of your life. That information is on a need-to-know basis, and connections on LI do not need to know. 

Use my reply as a template. DO NOT TRY TO BE “CUTE”. Emojis are not necessary. Do not think you have to apologize for ‘misleading’ them. If it is not the attention you desire, there is nothing to apologize for. Do not use words/phrases such as maybe, perhaps, I’m not sure, sorry, I was hoping. Do not reply using a sarcastic tone. 


(i) *how you feel*: I’m uncomfortable with the direction this conversation is going in. 

(ii) *what they said that made you feel that way*: Calling me sexy is completely inappropriate. 

(iii) *what your boundaries are*: I have no interest in discussing any beyond business. 

(iv) *what the consequences are of violating your boundaries*: If you insist on speaking to me in this manner, I will report (and block) you.

The only way to deal with the fear is to speak to a trusted friend/mentor/counselor/HR or Labour Law Professional/lawyer. And get your support network into gear. 

If they try to block you from work it’s a difficult one unless you can prove it. i.e. the person threatened you and it’s in writing or you recorded the phone conversation’’

”I had an international PR company approach me, they were in South Africa and wanted to expand into Zimbabwe (this was about 2 years back), I was working the job I dreaded, a tad bit desperate and unsure but it was a dream job situation. Something felt off from the minute I was sent details about it, with much persistence from a colleague I gave in (tried to see it as an opportunity). I fixed up my media kit on my tablet, sent it via email and a meeting was set up. He was a quirky American very well vested in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa in general. I picked up that he had a wandering eye over the interview but again shrugged it off because I was tryna be professional. I got the role on a probation basis, he sent me a tonne of content-related work but I couldn’t keep up. One day at work a picture came through WhatsApp, I was too busy so I left it thinking arggghh more work! Later when I was settled I opened the message, but I did not open the picture because something told me it was a dick pic – I froze because I immediately knew what it was. I kept quiet for two days straight. He ended up texting sporadic and crazy emails apologizing for what had happened and said it was his mistress from Paris (he was very well-traveled and connected with top brands in SA), I kept my chill and I told him sternly I will not tolerate this kind of behavior or any kind on any other level in the future. At the time, I wasn’t in the right head space (work exhausted me) so I let it slide; looking back I should have taken abit more action BUT I have all the emails and chats backed up. He just went quiet after that and that was it. I don’t know what happened and quite frankly didn’t reply the last batch of emails.

I think as young women we need to pray about these things (literally) because in any workplace we are targets. It seems as if it’s something that we cannot avoid (I worked in the medical field and this guy placed his hand on my lower Abdomen area, he was a radiologist administering a scan because I wasn’t feeling too well and I think he saw it as an opportunity. Problem is I really liked him so again I let it slide, wrong of me because I should have reported it). I did however approach him in private and he brushed it off, I think at the time I was unsure and even though I approached him (and liked him) nigga had a wandering eye and threw snarky sexual comments to women as jokes (hence ladies pay attention to these things because predators actually mean what they say). He had a very good position in the clinical practice, handsome so it was easy to fall for him but looking back the guy was a serious pervert.

Lessons learnt;

1. Your gut/6th sense does not LIE!

2. DO NOT PLEASE PEOPLE – I grew up in a very strict and well mannered home so being rude was a no, hence I equally struggled saying no even when it made me feel uncomfortable. But you need to have thick skin in the working world because that shit is fucked up!


4. Report if you have to, even if your job is on the line you might actually save someone who didn’t have the balls to.

5. Pray about your job when you walk in because some people are seriously broken.”

“I have about 11500 linkedin contacts and I have had many men inbox me and say suggestive things. Same thimg on facebook and on whatsapp groups.

The easiest for me is to not respond and block them.

I agree with all the responses given and would add that don’t accommodate it or flirt then try to pull out of the convo. The man will think you are playing hard to get.

Pick a brand and stick to it. It is a small market and one slip up and that becomes your brand – discrediting all your hard work. People will think you got where you are only because of your bum work

Beyond the online advances we also need to be alert and reject any in person advances. 

I was watching a movie on the sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes at Fox & also looking at the metoo campaign and was just thinking of how many women don’t act on sexual harassment. We need to start speaking out!!!’’

’’Most of the time your gut/intuition is spot on trust your initial feelings about a man being extra nice(read as crossing the line). It sucks though but here we are. I’ve personally had to block men I met at meetings, or gave my business card too who would then call or text me in the middle of the night and try to take it further because they think they have a right to our bodies, time etc. I think we all have had some experience of this behaviour. Let’s not even go into the unsolicited body part pics that some have received. Just always have your boundaries and never bend them for anyone.’’

’’This has happened to me. Especially when they notice that your bio says you’re looking for work. They’ll ask for your number, ask you to lunch etc. I (unfortunately) took one lunch offer cause I thought it was going to be work related. I even carried my CV and everything only for the man to ward off any mention of work talk and he started calling me ba etc. I went home and blocked him. Now if someone asks me to lunch I ask if it’s business (because I freelance as a side hustle) or a social lunch. If he says it’s the latter, politely decline. If it’s the former, ask for specifics and send him an email (yes be extra 😅) outlining what you’ve agreed to discuss in the meeting. I guarantee you if he was playing, he’ll back out of the meeting. Otherwise, always keep your responses and interactions as short, formal and curt as possible on LinkedIn because the predators hiding behind big positions are PLENTY.’’

’’Went to a meeting with my boss once and the man (senior in his field) we were meeting looked at my card and when he didn’t see a mobile number asked for it. I looked him dead in the eye and said I don’t have a mobile work phone. When we stepped outside my boss asks me why I didn’t give him my mobile number. I told him men don’t understand boundaries when they think they like you and till the office gives me a phone and number, my personal number is off limits. The ride back to the office was uncomfortably silent but he got the message.’’

’’This is so true, it has happened to me before and just today I received an email from some guy asking me out and he sent me his pictures and a rose😳

Such emails I block and delete.

For those local that I meet at workshops I make sure I dont entertain them I strictly keep our conversations as business and make sure that person sees i’m not the flirty flirty type. Put on a lions face if need be so that these men don’t take you for granted. I have gained respect from it before. At times I smile get what I want then block and delete. 

If the person blocks you…i would say that’s not the end of the world…more and better opportunities will come. And when something is yours no one will ever block it or deny it from happening.’’

‘’Hi ladies

My advice to young professional women is be very clear why you are pursuing the career path that you are on. Because you are a woman in the business environment you already have a few things that work against you. No matter how hard you work, they will always be people who want to link your personal success to some male influence even though all your achievements are on merit.

Avoid flirting of any sort with business associates. Be very clear who you give your number and why you do. Keep all business interactions formal.

Some men have twisted ways of interpreting women’s actions. But at the end of the day we have control over who we allow in our circles.

One thing I have come to appreciate with time is that there is no man that can close me out of any business deal that I am qualified to do. They can try but position your skills in such a way that they are valued and needed. Create your own seat at the table.

Most of us disadvantage ourselves tolerating nonsense in the hope of creating professional ladders through links that have no business in our lives in the first place

Clarity of who you are, where you are going, what you want to achieve  is critical in weaning and wadding off unwanted attention. Also ladies listen and pay attention to the subtle advances and deal with them immediately’’

‘’I recently heard someone say, “We legalise what we cannot control.”

We (humankind) cannot control physical, sexual, emotional and mental abuse, so we were forced to create laws to determine the point at which the illegal has occured. How flawed the human heart is and how dysfunctional  the brain is, which can figure out how to send rovers to Mars but we still have toxic workplaces…’’

‘’As a woman, you have to be able to stand your ground all the time. Also you have to bear in mind that to an extent men gossip more than women. Any character slip up on the woman’s part is openly discussed men in different forums.’’

‘’Hi Amanda, yes this has happened to me a few times. I remind them this is a professional site and their line of inquiry is inappropriate. If they continue I delete them as a connection. Young women should value themselves and all their hardwork. It isn’t wrong to professionally communicate when you feel uncomfortable or disrespected.’’

‘’First observe personal space avoiding hugging every one.

By not entertaining sexual toned jokes from non friends of the opposite sex

By telling them you are not interested

Avoid getting intoxicated around them some people may cross the line when drunk or high

Knowing when to stop if you enjoy flirting’’

‘’YES, I was younger and curious so in a sense I did not immediately understand what was going on. I just stopped replying when I realized what was going on. Also the guy was really aggressive.

Your intuition is almost never wrong, if the conversation begins to feel personal, it probably is.

We all learnt communication skills but when all else fails just don’t reply or report the account for unprofessional behaviour. Reporting is anonymous so they won’t actually know it was you.

The moment conversations become personal, make sure you screenshot the conversations for future use. Like Thembi said, it’s the year of Monica Lewinsky done right. Always cover your bases.

I actually left LinkedIn because of this nonsense behavior’’

‘’Not on LinkedIn but I had an older male colleague try to get his sexual harrasment rocks off. At first I tried the usual avoidance tactics then I reported him to HR. When HR approached him he resigned to avoid a hearing. He told people he would ‘get’ me 🤷🏾‍♀  never heard from him again.

Colleagues were like ‘was it even that serious’ but those are women who think men are entitled to women’s time and attention. It’s all fun and games until you’ve had a man corner you in your office and refuse to leave without a kiss.’’

‘’When I was a waitress. There was a manager who liked me and because it took the smallest things to be fired I would smile and be nice to him. One day he gave me toilet duty and when I was done he came and stood in front of the men’s bathroom and I was trapped inside the only thing that saved me was a mop I threatened to feed him’’

‘’Yes it’s happened numerous times. I didn’t  understand it at first but when the guy was trying to be too close I usually said I have studies to do or help my parents or simply didn’t  reply at all. If I got harrassed too much via texting then I told it to my boss or showed it to my head  

Recognize  at first whether the person is taking up your personal space , digital abuse, trying to text too much maybe . Follow your intuition when you feel something is not right.

Say you have to complete the work immediately  and that you can’t  reply much. Maintain boundaries at first 

If we keep fearing that said person who threatens to harm our future opportunities.  You can leave that place or complain to your head or always have evidence maybe of when they made you feel threatened  ( last part I am only saying it in my opinion)

Keep the evidence! Anything that proves that they will harm you in the future, so that  you don’t  have to fear them.’’

Through talking to numerous women and experiencing the platform myself it’s evident that offline and online we are still years away from having a society where sexual harassment is a thing of the past.

Please share your story or a piece of advice in the comments below.

My Body, My Choice: The Truth Behind Birth Control, Abortions, and Miscarriages

‘I support the right to choose. Because no one can tell me what to do with my body. Nobody can tell me the cells that may one day be a human is more important than my life right now.’ Anonymous

While in many countries around the world abortion laws are a topic constantly in debate. In Africa and many countries like Zimbabwe legalized abortion and the right to choose is not yet a topic of conversation and neither is Women’s Health but shouldn’t it?

In Zimbabwe, ‘’Government estimates indicate that more than 80,000 illegal abortions happen every year, resulting in around 20,000 maternal deaths. In 2017, Ministry of Health and Child Care official Dr. Bernard Madzima estimated that illegal abortions caused 16% of maternal deaths, half of whom were adolescents.’’

When you look at the stats it’s scary to find out just how many people are going through this process alone in hidden corners because they have nowhere safe to turn to and more than that how little research has gone into safe labor.

‘Zimbabwe has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, estimated at 651 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In contrast to a worldwide trend of declines, maternal mortality has increased in Zimbabwe over the past 25 years.’

And why might women choose to get an abortion? One woman said, ‘’A lot goes into pregnancy. Finances. Living arrangements. Future schooling. Careers. Etc. your life has to be solid to have a healthy pregnancy and not be stressed to the max and you’re still going to be stress’’

Looking at the issue of Abortions some might be quick to look at the young generation and think that abortion and sex itself has become a trend or rather that there is a lack of education about the use of birth control and the options available, but looking deeper into this issue I discovered that Birth Control and its dangers come with misconceptions of their own.

‘According to the National Cancer Institute, there is mixed evidence that hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer but reduce the risk of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers.

The hormones in birth control, including progesterone and estrogen, may stimulate the growth of some types of cancer cells and reduce the risk of others developing.’

26 studies also indicated that Birth Control can also cause blood clots. Blood clots increase a person’s risk of a stroke and heart attack. People who smoke may be especially at risk for developing blood clots when using birth control pills.

Post @Kimanami on Facebook

It is important to note that most women do not have any side effects to the birth control pill but that these risks do exist and it’s important to learn what your body reacts to and what it doesn’t and more importantly knowing what your body needs.

As part of this article I talked to several women who have experienced abortions, miscarriages and giving birth and I noticed one common trend around the world there is a need for more research and better treatment in hospitals. 

Not only are women being given birth control without any prior discussion of what to expect but women are also faced with a lack of information when it comes to giving birth safely, their rights to choose and the risks they face when giving birth, and even aftercare for when they have given birth. 

Women are left to face things like perineal tearing (vagina tearing) with no idea how to take care of their wounds or how to take care of their bodies. 

One woman I talked to shared her story below:

‘So I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Meaning I get cysts on my ovaries that mess with my hormone levels. Thus making getting pregnant and carrying to term extremely difficult and highly unlikely without costly fertility treatments.

When I was married to my ex-husband we found out I was pregnant on July 6th, 2016. On July 8th I went to the hospital for vaginal bleeding but no pain. There the doctor did an ultrasound and said my body was having a spontaneous abortion, the medical term for a miscarriage. They told me to come back in two days for repeat blood work to make sure my hcg levels were decreasing as they should and to enjoy the rest of my day. I had just lost the ground beneath my feet and was told to have a good day.

After the doctor left the nurse walked me down the halls and through the lob of pregnant women all happy and healthy with their big round bellies and I was forced to wait in the lob while I cried for a nurse to draw my blood in the lab to start a base line for my hcg levels. Not only was it embarrassing but I was so angry at these women I didn’t know for having what I had lost.

Two days later July 10th. I went back for my repeat blood work. That morning I had woken up with a weird cramp in my upper left thigh. Almost like I had worked out and was sore. Gradually through the day this pain increased and moved into my lower abdomen and groin area. By the time I got to the lab at the hospital I couldn’t walk I was in so much pain. The lab tech there called the ER to have someone come get me and admit me. They did more tests and more ultrasounds and still said “you’re having a miscarriage. Here’s something for the pain.” After hours of no relief a doctor finally came in and said they saw a small cyst on my right ovary and he believed that accompanied with the miscarriage was the source of my pain. He decided to do an exploratory laparotomy, basically go in through my belly button with a camera and look around, and drain the cyst.

Turns out I had a tubal, or ectopic, pregnancy in my left Fallopian tube. They barely caught it in time before the tube burst which would result in a partial hysterectomy and make another natural pregnancy near impossible.

Based on my labs they had said I was 3/4 weeks pregnant. I was closer to 8-10. It was a very traumatic experience. Which led me not to go to the doctor when I found out I was pregnant again. I didn’t want to go in right away and be told I was pregnant only to lose my ba a week later and go through that emotional trauma again. So I waited.

Two weeks later and lots of positive pregnancy tests I started bleeding. Two weeks later no more positive pregnancy tests and I was on my period. The losses eventually led to the end of my marriage as he wanted “a real wife and family”.

In October of 2017 I was recently divorced and partying it up. Like crazy white girl partying. I was dumb. I was late. The guy was an alcoholic and didn’t want to be a dad. I figured there was no way I was pregnant with my issues and if I was I’d lose the ba so it didn’t matter. We just put it to the back of our minds basically.

Well. Day before thanksgiving I’m sick as a dog and go to the doctor. I’m pregnant. And the ba was healthy. And I had a son in July of 2018. I went through a pregnancy alone. With no job. No stable income or living. No partner to share my burden. And extremely stressed. But I had a son. And he’s perfect in every way. He’s had his issues. And my pregnancy was hell. I had hyperemesis gravadarium. Meaning my morning sickness was so bad and all day long my body didn’t have time to process nutrients. I lost fifty pounds while pregnant. Then because my uterus is tilted my ba grew to my right side and crushed my right ureter, the tube connecting kidney to bladder to drain, and put me in stage one kidney failure.

I was offered a medical abortion at 20 weeks. I refused. I had six surgeries while pregnant. I had to be induced a week early to avoid a seventh. During the induction my sons heart rate dropped into the 80s and I had an emergency csection. At 2am on the dot of July 29th, 2018 I had a 4 pound 9 ounce 17.75 inches long ba. He was smaller than a teddy bear but healthy. And alive. And had all the right parts. He didn’t even have a cleft palate birth defect like I did.

He’ll be turning one soon. My fiancé has been in his life since the beginning and two months ago we found out we were pregnant. We’d only known for two weeks and hadn’t even told anyone when I started bleeding. We went to the hospital where I waited in tears in the lob for 3 hours before being called in to triage. I waited another 2 hours before I had a room in private. I was given an ultrasound and sat in a hospital room. Where I waited. And waited. For an hour. For some young doctor to walk in shake my hand and my fiancé’s look at us and say the pregnancy isn’t viable and you’re having a miscarriage. I’m sorry. I’ll have a nurse bring your discharge papers and out the door he went.

The health care field is extremely overlooking when it comes to women and to early pregnancies. They just don’t care. and it’s pathetic and wrong for a doctor to turn away when a patient needs them. It’s wrong for a mother to wait for hours knowing her child is gone just for a doctor to shrug and open and close his mouth like a fish when asked why, why her ba.’’

If you’re thinking this story isn’t common, it’s more common than you think, ‘For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent) end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies.’

With miscarriages, still births and maternal deaths occurring at this rate coupled with the fact that the scientific world has yet to perfect safe birth control in a world where thousands are poured into sex, shouldn’t we be more concerned? And shouldnt we be talking about this more? 

Although you might be thinking that these three topics are seemingly unrelated one common thread stands. More needs to be done to protect women, their bodies and their lives. 

By Amanda Marufu