The cruel reflection of South Africa’s deep-rooted sexism was exposed so dramatically by go-getter Shauwn Mkhize and songbird Ndivhudzannyi Ralivhona popularly known as Makhadzi.

MaMkhize, as the Durban business woman is fondly called, was instead despised for being crass. The body shaming of Makhadzi on the other hand brought home the heart piercing pain of betrayal amongst women.

With a colourful public persona and an explosive arrival in the football scene, the Royal AM owner was bound to rub some people the wrong way. The latest entrant to the boys-only team of PSL  owners, has never given a penny’s worth to the fraternity’s status quo. Nothing makes that point clearer than the on the pitch money-dispensing antics during their 2-1 victory over neighbours Maritzburg United.

In her own, somewhat unconventional way, MaMkhize has shown the middle finger to football and society’s patriarchy. It’s now football on her terms.
The history of this beautiful game is littered with heart-wrenching tales of cruel exploitation of players. A reality of all female athletes to this day.


Albeit not so tasteful, she has, emphatically, made the point about just compensation for athletes.

Oh, did I mention that the majority of the Royal AM players were inherited from Bloemfontein Celtics where they were not paid for months on end? I wonder if soccer whizzes have noticed their sudden sharpness, or the impetus it has brought to the game.

Granted, by bringing ubuskhothane to the game of billions, she has inadvertently overshadowed the national value of her role in football leadership. Soccer’s female leadership is as rare as the desert rain. For the love of me, I fail to grasp why Khabazela is not celebrated for such a bold initiative. One would have expected the nation to rally behind her. Especially because eleven years ago the FIFA World Cup public relations machine sold us the idea of a flourishing post-Apartheid era sport. The new prosperities; we were told, would cure many of our social ills, particularly discrimination across race, class, gender and geography.

Khabazela is not breaking the glass ceiling – she is shuttering the very foundations on which patriarchy rests. She upsets narrow heteronormative regimes, attitudes and prejudices that are at the core of our national and global sporting customs.

So why is she shunned? Why are women not backing her? At the face of it, most women it seems, wouldn’t care any less. They would rather type away bile of ruinous social media body-shaming of other women instead like it happened to Makhadzi.

The Limpopo-born hitmaker found herself in a storm of Twitter attacks after a photographer shared a picture showing her dark inner thighs. The majority of the assault came from women intimating blemishes on her thighs were because she did not bath. This was after an electrifying live performance at the Sand Music Festival in Malawi.

The humble Ghanama singer took to social media to offer a tear-jerker of an apology for the “offending” picture. Recognised all over Africa, Makhadzi was publicly slapped in the face by her sisters at home. Sadly, it wasn’t for the first time she was subjected to this savage cyber bullying.

This begs the question: why would women be this callous towards each other? Expert opinion faults our socialisation – saying we are raised badly, with the vilest kind of social life and institutional structures. These are organised in such way that men have ultimate control over most aspects of women’s lives and actions.

Corporate executive Nonsikelelo Ncube says the African continent’s body polity will not dismantle patriarchy, if anything, the continent’s governments and even multinational fora serve to undermine such efforts.

She points out that only four of the 54 African countries or 7% have female presidents.

“Over the decades, we have witnessed the rise of many formidable women who, given a chance, would infuse the much-needed new perspectives in African politics. Young women such as Lindiwe Mazibuko of South Africa and Fadzayi Mahere of Zimbabwe have stepped up to participate in national politics. They undoubtedly have been met with various obstacles, such as arbitrary online abuse. Mahere was randomly labelled a “gold digger” by a Twitter user for example,” she says.

So, because women are a majority in any society, it is no brainer that often times, women are brought down by other women. Human behavioural scientists call it a “Queen Bee syndrome.” Coined in the 70’s, the term refers to women experiencing lack of support from more senior women.

American sociologist Marianne Cooper says the Queen Bee syndrome leads to something she describes as ‘social distancing.’

“Queen Bee behaviours are triggered in male dominated environments in which women are devalued. This kind of response is not even unique to women. It’s actually an approach used by many marginalised groups to overcome damaging views held about their group. While social distancing can enable an individual from an underrepresented group to advance, it does a disservice to the group as a whole because it can legitimise inequalities,” she says.

I pray for more MaMkhizes. Hollow male testosterone rampage that wields  horrid dominance over women won’t disappear benevolently. What with vicious queen bees weakening women’s emancipation. Please sisters, cut the act.

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