How to stay safe in South Africa

Play rugby says women’s captain.
The Springboks' win has ignited a flame for the women's rugby team to win the 2021 women's World Cup. Image: Mike Hutchings, Reuters

The Springbok women’s captain, Babalwa Latsha, said on Thursday that the rugby field is one of the few places she feels safe in South Africa, where a woman is murdered every three hours.

The 25-year-old star said the South African men’s first Rugby World Cup win under a black captain on Saturday had “ignited a flame” in her team to win the 2021 women’s World Cup.

Read: South African pride erupts over Rugby World Cup win

“No one can attack you on a rugby field. No man can point a gun at you, hurt you, throw a fist at you. We feel safe there, but we should feel safe everywhere,” Latsha said in a phone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

About 3 000 women in South Africa were murdered in 2018, which is more than five times higher than the global average, according to the World Health Organisation.

Latsha, who comes from one of Cape Town’s biggest townships, Khayelitsha, said the women’s team had “drawn strength from the men’s team, and also from themselves as women” to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in New Zealand.

Latsha’s love for rugby came quite late in life, at the age of 20, when a rugby-training programme called Vuka came to Khayelitsha to train and search for grassroots talent.

“I fell in love with the sport,” said Latsha. “It gave me a sense of belonging, ownership and power. It is the one place where I can just be myself fully, without worrying who will think what or say what about me.”

Latsha said she has spent her life answering to people “with the audacity to ask about my gender” for being very muscular.

“People in the street will stare at me, or walk up to me and ask why I look the way I do. You just have to develop a thick skin,” she said.

“The truth is, to society, my body is an anomaly but on the rugby field it is a marvel.”

Latsha said she felt for Caster Semenya, South Africa’s double Olympic champion who has hyperandrogenism, a medical condition, and was barred by The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because of her testosterone levels.

“It is heartbreaking what she has been through as a woman,” said Latsha, referring to the global athletics governing body’s requirement that Semenya take hormonal drugs that made her feel sick to lower her testosterone levels.

“Someone of that calibre, with such a natural strength and prowess, has had to be curtailed to be herself. She is the best in the world. The world needs to rise up to her level.”

According to the World Rugby rankings, the South African women’s team is the best in Africa and 15th globally.

Latsha, also a law graduate, hopes to set up a sporting agency for women, which would educate them about their rights to equality and freedom from discrimination, as well as providing mentorship and training to thrive in the sporting world.

“Sport can educate, empower and break down stereotypes about women,” said Latsha.

“Women are taught to be submissive and this contributes to the normalisation of violence against women. The least we can do as sportspeople is to continue to be trailblazers who refuse to accept that is normal.”

After mass protests against gender-based violence in September, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced plans to strengthen the criminal justice system and train counsellors.

“We are created for greatness,” said Latsha. “(The Springboks’) win has shown us our own dreams are not too big, too wild, too impossible to achieve.”

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Interesting article, thank you.
It seems like the old adage “safety in numbers” is no longer true. Overpopulation is the worlds biggest poverty and security trap.
Why governments insist on rewarding grants to single mothers only encourages more babies to be born into poverty who eventually grow up only to find unemployment which leads, invariably to a life of crime. It also destroys traditional home life where men are forced to take some responsibility for their own actions…. everyone looses!
Less people = less crime and more resources for all.
Just my opinion.

There is a strong inverse corellation between emotional intelligence and violent behaviour patterns. Poverty cannot be blamed for violent behaviour. Bhutan is one of the poorest countries on earth but their stats for violent deaths per capita is the lowest. The most violent countries are in Southern Africa and South America. The more south you go in Africa, the higher the amount of violent deaths per capita. A high percentage of violence takes place within the home after the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

What all of this means is that an individual who struggles to understand this post has a very high chance of being murdered by someone close to them.

The inexplicable stupidity of those politicians who are in power, and the high incidence of violent behaviour among the population, has the same root cause actually.

People who revert to violent behaviour find it impossible to express themselves in a coherent and meaningful way. They feel powerless when they use words only, so they use physical power to empower themselves.

This happens when the testosterone level is higher than the IQ level. Alcohol exacerbates this effect because it causes the IQ level to drop even further below the testosterone level.

You see? Every complicated phenomenon has a scientific explanation.

End of comments.





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