Abortion by the womb of Democracy

As we exchanged views on political and social issues during the drive to Kings and Queens Eatery for our interview, Nomawele throws more than a few pearls of wisdom. She asks a question that would leave many researchers salivating, “How do we expect change, when we stand by as if nothing happened when we see crime happen? How can we focus on GBV solely, while other crime is still rampant?”

She quotes Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because those who look on and do nothing.”

Abortion by the womb of democracy is a hard hitting, straight to the point account of the sexual harassment charges that brought down ANC big wig and then Parliamentary chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe. Nomawele Njongo tells the story of her struggle to retain her dignity after realising she had been reduced to nothing but, as she puts it, “A serving for the king.” The question many who blindly towed the line asked in their comfy gossip corners was probably, “How dare she not appreciate the honour of being bedded by the chief whip? How can she come here and change our culture?” She was portrayed as one who had been drunk on the evening of the solicitation. “Anyone who knows me immediately knew that it was made up, because I have never started drinking in my life.”

This book is an empowerment tool that is hard to put down. The reality is that so many women let sexual harassment go because it will be too much trouble to fight it, “Uyabzi abantu baphaya? Banemali kuzothengwa kwa elo docket.” Where many would let it define their existence, she did not let it. No one is entitled to anyone else’s body.

Nomawele brings her bravado into context from the start of the book by giving a glimpse into her upbringing, moving from amaMpondweni to Kwazulu and back, the challenges and opportunities that helped to develop that never say die attitude. One only wishes the tools she received in her formative years could be a norm in every school throughout this country.

There are no code names, all those who had a role are mentioned by name, the likes of Micheal Masuta, Vytjie Mentor, Mbulelo Goniwe, Tony Yengeni, Gwede Mantashe. We also have some from Mpondoland who played a role either for or against Nomawele.

There is hopefully a lot more ink in this writer’s quill, because this book left me wondering what happened next, where she went, where she is now in her pursuit of her dreams.