Book launch has Pretorians talking

Mmatshilo Motsei's book inspired a dialogue among those who attended the launch. Photo: Thato Mahlangu.

Mmatshilo Motsei’s book, Reweaving the Soul of the Nation, inspired a dialogue among those who attended its launch.

The launch took place on Saturday at Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History.

Motsei said it was a difficult journey to reflect on the state of the country.

She was joined by legendary jazz and opera singer Sibongile Khumalo, when they tackled topics discussed in Motsei’s latest book.

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The book covers issues like prostitution, patriarchy, leadership, challenges women face, and political dynamics.

Khumalo said the book came at a time when the nation was gripped with many bad things, like the spate of murders of women and children across the country.

Kgomotso Sehers-Archibald said societal issues, especially those affecting young people, should not be “fixed” by women but by men as well.

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Motsei said some of the issues in which the country finds itself were caused by a patriarchal society that had “learnt to accept things from that manly perspective”.

She said the ever-increasing prevalence of violence against women was a clear demonstration that even though parliament and government were no longer exclusively male, patriarchy was upheld by unwritten social laws which still allowed the construction of women as men’s private property.

Motsei said both young and old people needed to work together to make the country a better place.

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“Regardless of class, race and sexual orientation we can build this country to what we want it to be.”

African education was put under the spotlight by attendees.

Khumalo said there should be extra curriculum classes for children to be taught their culture.

Motsei agreed and said these classes would focus on the imparting of indigenous knowledge and history.

“They should also be about rebuilding people’s cultural identity and moral excellence.”

Her previous book Kanga and the Kangaroo Court: Reflections on the Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma, caused such a stir and prompted a debate on how alleged rape victims like Khwezi ended up being judged by society and fellow women.

The book caused discomfort among the ‘‘powers that be’’ and she ended up losing everything she had worked for.

Motsei said there should be a platforms like imbizo, meetings that Pretorians could use to raise issues that affect them.

“This could be a start to meaningful engagements that will help us find solutions to our problems. We can heal.”

Thato Mahlangu

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