To All The Daughters | By Kago Motlhabani

To all the daughters: I am sorry.

I’m sorry for the pain and the trauma.

I’m sorry that this has come to a war between sons and daughters.

I’m sorry that we are all born from a woman’s womb but that intimate bond is not enough for us to protect each other as a sibling would.

We are all children.

We are all children fighting children.

I’m sorry that I’m the one apologising when it isn’t my fault women are being attacked –

It isn’t any of our faults. It never has been and will never be despite what a man might tell you.

To the sons: what is it?

I just want to know what could possibly be worth contaminating such a perfect rose?

To the man who whistled to me while I was in school uniform: I am torn.

I don’t know whether to wish a daughter upon you so that you can understand how important it is to keep her safe,

Or to wish you never have a daughter just in case you don’t think your own blood is worthy of protection.

To the boy who touched me at the party: I regret remaining silent.

Instead of seeking solace in the company of other daughters,

I wish I’d cut your fingers with my tongue so you could never reach for that intimate flesh without an invitation.

To the men that make me feel safe: thank you. Thank you for never seeing me as something to conquer.

Thank you for rushing to my side when I fall.

Thank you for letting me walk beside you and breathe easily.

I pray that men like you stop being a rare find. I pray that you are as easy to find my own shadow.

I pray that you hold your friends accountable.

I pray that you protect women.

But more than anything,

I pray that you are genuine and not biding your time like a predator.

To the daughters: I am angry.

I am angry about the pain and the trauma.

I am angry that i never feel as safe as when I’m with my mother, and even her peace is threatened

I am angry that we tell each other to be safe but it’s not up to us.

I am angry that we are children fighting children.

I am angry because the fact that all children come from a daughter isn’t enough to protect us.

I’m angry that we don’t know how much time we have on this earth.

I’m angry that we don’t know where to go because a Post Office is about as safe as snake pit.

I’m angry for questioning even living on this earth anymore.

Because I fear that if the sons don’t kill us first, our blazing Planet will.

To Uyinene, Jesse, Leighandre, Janika and so so many more daughters who now shine with the stars:

I don’t know what to say.

There’s nothing I can say to you or your families that will make this hurt less.

Just know that your country weeps for you with it’s very soul.

Just know that we fight for you with all our hearts.

We continue to fight in your memory.

After all memory is a weapon.

And only a long rain will wash away these tears.

By Kago Motlhabani

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