Tuesday's urgent parliamentary debate of national public importance on gender-based violence and femicide was used to push sectarian interests -- from bans on alcohol and pornography to the return of the death penalty. An occasional 'Malibongwe!' from the ANC benches aside, the debate was flat.
Some 10 months ago in early September 2019, the National Assembly held a debate on the murder of women and gender-based violence - "Gender and institutionalism: towards strengthening the gender machinery" was the topic -- amid a groundswell of protests from the Union Buildings to the gates of Parliament.
#TotalShutDown to mark the start of Women's Month on 1 August 2019 marched countrywide against gender-based violence with the support of civil society and human rights organisations.
Renewed social solidarity and protests across the country came later in August in the wake of the murders of women - Cape Town students Uyinene Mrwetyana and Jesse Hess, East London boxing champ Leighandre Jegels, Cape Town teenager Janika Mello, Lynette Volschenk and others - and the 10 lives lost in Gauteng xenophobic violence.
South Africa was roiling.
For the second time in just over a month, President Cyril Ramaphosa met protesters on 5 September, this time not at...