Serena Williams, Kirsty Coventry And Comfort Dondo; A Tale Of Three Women.

In the wake of the Serena Williams ‘Outburst’ scandal, a lot of emotions were evoked inside me. When I watched the clip of the infamous ‘outburst’ and what transpired on the court, I could not finish watching it. When I was reading all the stuff online about Serena, I had no idea it was that bad. Oh, the pain in her voice and eyes, as she was surrounded by white men and white supremacy. It was indeed painful to watch.

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Serena Williams

I said to my husband, ‘It’s so sad. Serena is every definition of what it means to be powerful and successful. She has all the money in the world, but still, at the top of her career, she still has to experience the pain and suffering of being a black woman. Poor poor Serena, she has even been accused of being a man, and black people believe it. Today, I see no powerful black men out there up in arms defending her.’ I had Trevor Noah say something, but not once did he mention the word racism, and that makes all the difference.

‘Ah, why would powerful black men defend her?’ My Boaz said. ‘They are even insulting and mocking her. I’ve seen some black men insulting her online.’

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Cruel racist cartoon from cartoonist Mark Knight. 

My Boaz sighed and continued, ‘Awww sweetheart, black women, you guys are just so sad man, and you women try so hard to be strong, but the struggle and sadness is just there, even in the midst of strength. Watching Serena was too sad man’

I wanted to write about it, but I felt so discouraged, I said to myself what’s the point. What will my little article do? It’s not easy being a black woman, and no one else understands this, but us. We are the most ridiculed women on this planet, and we are completely on our own, we don’t have the black men to support and defend us.

So I thought I will let this story pass, I said I won’t write about Serena Williams. I decided to go on Facebook, and I saw a lot of posts about a white woman who like Serena Williams is also a sportswoman and is at the centre of some sexism scandal.

Zimbawean Kirsty Coventry poses 18 July
Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwean Olympic Champion

Yes, over the past week, my Facebook timeline has had numerous pictures of Kirsty Coventry. She is a Zimbabwean Olympic champion and is the most decorated Olympian in African history. Last week Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed the 34-year-old swimmer as the new Minister Of Youths, Sports and Arts in his new Government. Zimbabweans were beyond ecstatic, I mean ecstatic is an understatement. I have never seen a woman celebrated like that in the history of Zimbabwean politics or even world politics. There was not a single criticism or a single insult directed towards Kirsty as we see other female politicians endure. Zimbabwean men are brutal like that, I have personally experienced their insults on a very high level and when they insult women especially in politics, it always turns to vulgar.

But Kirsty’s new political career was welcomed with nothing but complete awe and adoration. Every other newly appointed cabinet minister was overshadowed by the fuss and exaggerated celebration of Coventry. As much as I admire the young woman, yes, she is indeed an inspiration, but what I saw on social media was her white privilege and white supremacy. The opposition Leader Nelson Chamisa opposed the appointment of the Olympic Champion as a Minister of Sports, using the country’s native language,  and he faced the wrath of Zimbabweans. Black Zimbabweans even went on to fabricate Nelson Chamisa’s comments as some sort of sexism towards Kirsty.

Today, I could not help but compare Kirsty Coventry’s case to Serena Williams.  Zimbabweans have made out that Kirsty Coventry has faced some sort of discrimination from MDC-T Leader Nelson Chamisa, and for that black Zimbabwean men are at her defence. Black men are praising her, black men are defending her, and black men are protecting her in full force.

On the other hand, Serena Williams, the world’s greatest sportswoman does not have the privilege of having a mass of black powerful men rally behind her and defend her and protect her. She is completely on her own. Oh cry black Queen.

I was so discouraged today.

Until later on this evening I went back on Facebook, and behold, the first picture I saw was of a woman called Comfort Dondo.

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Comfort Dondo, Director Of Phumulani Minnesota African Women Against Violence

She is my Facebook friend. But she is more than just a Facebook friend to me. I know her. We went to the same High School in Zimbabwe. She now lives in the USA with her three young children, who are very beautiful by the way. Comfort is an advocate for abused women and the founder of Phumalani Minnesota African Women Against Violence.

When I saw her picture, my eyes welled up, I felt so many emotions at once. Everything I was feeling before was described in her picture.  I felt pain, I felt suffering, I felt sadness, I felt injustice but I also felt strength, I felt perseverance, I felt faith and I felt beauty. Looking at Comfort’s picture, I felt violated but I also felt victorious. Comfort’s picture was without a doubt one of the most powerful pictures of a black woman I have ever seen. Something about it deeply resonated with me.

I saw a woman determined to make it no matter what stones are thrown at her. I saw a woman who is saying to the world, no no I won’t cry. I saw a woman who has no choice but to hold back her pain and her emotions because the world has taught her that a black woman has to smile, even when she’s being hurt and crying inside.

I saw a black Queen who doesn’t have her black King to defend and protect her. Yes, I have been there, when my own husband had to take the side of all my enemies, and I stood alone being stoned, my foes being assisted in the stoning by the man who was supposed to defend and protect me.

One woman compared Comfort’s iconic picture to the late Winnie Mandela, and I could not help but agree. Comfort resembled the mother of Africa Winnie Mandela, not just in looks and beauty, but in emotion too. Then I became even more emotional because I loved Winnie Mandela. When Mama Winnie Mandela died earlier this year, I remember watching the breaking news of her death on Western media, where Winnie Mandela was being labelled as a villain by a panel of white people. They were saying something about how she killed people and wronged Nelson Mandela. It’s when they said Nelson Mandela was right to divorce her, that I just switched off the TV, I could not watch anymore.

I was upset about it for days, seeing one of the most beautiful bravest black woman in the world portrayed by the west as some sort of evil woman. I wanted to write a tribute article about Mama Winnie Mandela, but each time I tried to write I would be too emotional to write. I wanted to say it all, how Mama Winnie was betrayed by her own husband Nelson Mandela, at the expense of white people. She was so wronged on every level. A black heroine who was robbed off her legacy by her own husband, the most painful betrayal ever. She watched her husband get the hero status that was rightfully hers too. Even in her death, I felt her pain.

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Comfort Dondo’s striking resemblance to the late Winnie Mandela

As I looked at Comfort’s picture today, I felt some sort of healing and comfort not just about Serena Williams and Winnie Mandela. But her picture comforted me, as a black woman who once endured the pain of being betrayed by the men who are supposed to protect me.

Kirsty Coventry maybe the most trending Zimbabwean woman on social media, but for me, if there was any justice in this world, in my own world, Comfort Dondo was my heroine today. She may not have all the privileges of this world, especially by Zimbabwean standards,  but her picture spoke a thousand words and captured the untold story of every black strong powerful woman.

 

So chin up Serena Williams, we are your sisters, we got your back. We are black women and like you said we will get through this. We are black women, we always overcome. Strength is in our DNA sweetheart.

 

 

 

 

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