WHO IS WOMAN? A MANIFESTO

The issue of Woman in the Cosmos, of Woman-man relations, is too profound, too awesome, too complex, to be fully comprehended through analysis and rational thought by any mere man, woman, or child. It goes down to the deepest unknowable roots of Human Psyche, and of the Human Heart. Listen to James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World”. There are truths so deep and unknowable that we just look, without words, perhaps with sighs, oohs, or tears of pain or joy or other overwhelming emotion; for example, as we watch a new-born baby, or a dead human body in front of us. Incidentally, in traditional society -at the site of the baby being born, and at the room of the dead person, are Women. Birth and Death were handled by Women! Only Women were that Deep. It is not for nothing that in Nguni history/mythology we are told that Life emerged out of a Reed (Umhlanga), that the first to emerge was a Woman with a baby on her back. In another region of Africa, we are told Life emerged out of deep expansive waters, and the first to emerge was a Woman with a man on her back! YES…and the first living merciful Deity known to Zulus is NOMKHUBULWANE, the only Daughter of God…the Goddess we get close to, with whom we converse, in front of whom we cry, plead, and sing, for Rain, Who at the end issues the RAINBOW! ( Mazisi Kunene, Anthem of The Decades). In early Christianity, Woman was honored and worshipped all over Europe as Mother of the Savior. (Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin)

[I remember, at Hartford USA, being called by a friend to her home. I found her at the conclusion of tears; she told me she was angry with herself; she had just prayed to God, asking for forgiveness for having thought of committing suicide over a `mere man’. That gave me a flashing insight of the Greatness of Woman!]

In Woman-man relations, we see the interaction of the Sacred and the profane, of the Godly and the worldly….unfortunately, both Woman and man have since become degraded and too worldly to know and to see this. Just as we need to separate the Healer from the fake healer, so we need to separate Woman from the woman who has totally succumbed to worldly ways, in the process becoming small. “How well we Zulu women had learned to avoid the clutching hands of men, to duck and dodge and elude them, and to break from their grasp! Our own dignity is our chief protection…”) (KwaZulu: Queen Mkabi’s Story,  edited by Cecil Cowley)

Yes, the issue of Woman-man relations is too profound, too awesome, too complex, to be fully comprehended by us on this profane earth. It is too Deep, and as high as the height of the Cosmos. We shall never reach there. Let us begin with worldly possibilities …as we grow bigger, and more profound, and deeper, and wiser, and more sacred, we shall start on our way to that depth, and on our way to that height. Woman is originally representative of the Noble and Sacred in the world. Both Woman and man must re-order the world, re-order themselves, re-order their conduct, so that Woman can rise again to her lofty, sacred nature and position.

Let us start with the worldly. Let us first lift the oppression of women in rural areas, and the oppression of working-class women in cities and towns, who feel the pierce and burden of oppression more than all other women.

 

 

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About Professor Herbert W. Vilakazi

Professor Herbert Vilakazi was born at Nongoma, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa. He received his tertiary education at Columbia University, and at the New School For Social Research, both in New York City, USA. He has taught sociology and other social sciences at various tertiary institutions in and around New York City (City College of City University, Essex County College in Newark, Livingstone College, and State University of New York). He has also taught at the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University), University of the Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, and University of Zululand. He served as Deputy-Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission from 1998 to 2004. He has also served as Special Advisor to the Premier of KwaZulu/Natal (2005-2007). He is Chairperson of Vilakazi Development Strategies.
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