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African Journal of Reproductive Health
Women's Health and Action Research Centre
ISSN: 1118-4841
Vol. 8, Num. 1, 2004, pp. 105

African Journal of Reproductive Health, Vol. 8, No. 1, April, 2004 pp. 105


Dignity Spills©

Makhosazana Xaba*

* Makhosazana Xaba, Country Representative, Ipas South Africa, P. O. Box 1079, Auckland Park 2006. Tel:  27 11 482 2569 Fax: 27 11 482 4718 E-mail: Website:

Code Number: rh04019

There is a war going on in South Africa
Declare a state of emergency!
The war is undeclared
So the other side is caught off-guard, unarmed
The war of sons on daughters
Of brothers on sisters
Of uncles on aunts
Of fathers on mothers
Of grandfathers on grandmothers
It's a war of men on women
The war of boys on girls

The war is undeclared
So the statistics are impossible to collect properly
The war is denied by its perpetrators so
Its soldiers do not wear uniforms
They parade in camouflage
As loving grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers and
The grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and
Are caught in the intricate web of this camouflage
The camouflage of trust
The camouflage of belief in the goodness of human
The camouflage of love
Only to be reminded
That grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers and sons
Are none other than soldiers of war
With hatred in their hearts
Planning to pounce at any moment
To attack, destroy, maim and kill

The commanders behave like agents
They wear different masks
Saying one thing in public
Joining the soldiers in secret
The war zone is not demarcated,
So the victims do not know where not to go
The war is everywhere
In private and public spaces
In individual and communal places
In sacred and unholy spaces
In clean and dirty places
It goes on relentlessly, unabated, decidedly undeclared

Like blood, dignity spills
Unlike blood, dignity is unmeasured
Wounds gape
Limbs break
Souls split
As the war is undeclared
The zone is not demarcated
The anti-war volunteers, too few, know not
where to go 

The latest victims, infants, babies
The ordinary victims, girls, women
Even the elderly, the pensioned do not escape
Rape rips lives apart
Incest rips lives apart
Violence rips lives apart 
The war is on South Africa
Declare a state of emergency,
The war zone is you!

© Women's Health and Action Research Centre 2004

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