8 Dec 2019

 

Not A Good South Sudanese Woman

If what it means to be “a South Sudanese woman” is to relinquish my mind, in order to accept illogical conclusion reached by cultural biases, then I refuse to be a ‘good South Sudanese woman.’

By Nyanyuon Bany

You might think I am a rebel without a cause, but maybe you do not understand the cause.

From this moment, I have decided to make my own stand whether you agree or not. I will attempt to respect your right to disagree but never your perceived right to impose that disagreement on me.

I refuse to accept this ‘assign role’ anymore in the name of culture or a good ‘South Sudanese woman’. In fact, I would make a terrible candidate for it. I lack the qualifications and most importantly, the will to accomplish its fundamental assumptions.

Indeed, I plan to make no one a good wife. I just hope to be a good person. One who does not think I have to bend over backward and forget the risk of breaking my own back.

I accept that I am this woman. I refuse to struggle with it anymore. To struggle with the idea that good Sudanese women ‘shut up’ when told. That they do not speak up for what they believe in or fight for their rights to live a dignified life.

I refuse to relinquish my mind, to willingly be blind and to pretend to be stupid so I can simply be 'celebrated' and “praised” whilst I suffer in silence - tormented by the truth - if even that truth be my own. For what worth is it to be part of a world or a culture that does not accept the ‘truth' of your existence, except to the degree of your degradation?

Call me a Kawaja, or a victim of mental colonization, go ahead, that’s what you normally run to. The argument, that this is not our culture. That it is foreign invention invading our culture purity.

What, then, is ‘South Sudanese culture’? Why should I refuse one master and accept another? When you tell me women’s rights are not ‘South Sudanese ’, what is ‘South Sudanese culture”? Is it, by default or outright acknowledgement, ‘wrongs against’ women?

Is beating wives, and sisters, and nieces, sometimes to death, ‘South Sudanese’? Is force marriage, underage marriage, rape among others, ‘South Sudanese’? If those rights and provisions articulated to prevent discrimination, sometimes fatal discrimination against women, are not parts of South Sudanese culture, what is really left to be part of Sudanese culture?

If that was true - that ‘South Sudanese cultures’ does not recognize women as having rights - ask yourself who in the world, if told: we will beat you; you will have no meaningful say in your life; you can be kill for making decisions that are not consistent with our wants and interests; who in this world, if told these, will not reject it? Will you not refuse it, rebuke it and fight for something better?

Does it really take a Kawaja to understand that? Isn’t the pain of that reality too real to ignore? When threatened, we fought or flight became an option. It does not take a genius to figure that out. I need neither be Kawaja nor any other to understand the conditions of my existence. They are self-evident.

What are you really saying when you say this is not our culture? Are you saying we lack the intellectual capacity or the moral courage to see these wrongs and to create solutions for them?

If what it takes to be ‘South Sudanese’ or to be ‘a good Sudanese woman’ is to stand silent whilst I suffer, I refuse to be a ‘good South Sudanese woman’.

If what it means to be “a South Sudanese woman” is to relinquish my mind, in order to accept illogical conclusion reached by cultural biases, then I refuse to be a ‘good South Sudanese woman.’

In fact, I accept all the names that I will be tag. All the names I have been tag. For freedom, real freedom, is what you are willing to give up your life for, let alone a reputation.

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