The bAw and Her Sisters

bAw and Her Sisters 5

There is a strange phenomenon that has become widely accepted amongst women, and seemingly especially amongst my black sisters (those are who I interact with most anyway). It is an almost unspoken but known occurrence. It happens usually when a group of women are gathered and a new woman comes along that they do not know. Sometimes, the group of women in question will look this new sister up and down discreetly while greeting her in the sweetest voice they can muster, all the while giving each other knowing looks about this “intruder”. At other times there is no pretence from the offset. The new lady can sense without a shadow of a doubt that she is not wanted or appreciated by the group of females she has just stepped up to. There is hardly genuine comradery and care amongst sisters especially when they first meet. I have personally experienced (and am ashamed to say have sometimes been a fellow perpetrator of) woman-on-woman “hate”/prejudice. It gives us a quick sense of who we think they’re dealing with.

We as sisters generally tend to have not-so-great-blood between us especially upon initially meeting. If you as a sister are really nice to another sister on first meeting, the other lady can even think that something’s up – you’re probably being fake or you want something from her. And that truly is sad. Especially when I see how easily and quickly our brothers get along with one another. We tend to only truly like the women that form part of our friendship circles, and even then you will find jealousy amongst female friends. We bring each other down with our looks, our words, our thoughts and we certainly do not delight in celebrating or lifting up other black African women (bAw). I believe that this stems from somewhere. My first thought is that of low self-worth which has been known to be most prevalent amongst women. Women by nature are relational creatures, and so they need validation the most. Men generally crave respect and to have their egos stroked but they don’t struggle with their value/worth the way women do. And so, when a sister meets another sister I think the initial thoughts that pop into her mind are along the lines of “What does she have that I don’t?” or “What can she do better than me?” We feel threatened because we doubt our own worth and what we have to offer. So the moment someone else comes into the picture who is similar to us (a woman) and could possibly offer what we can but only better, we feel uneasy.

It is a Psychology school of thought that the moment one feels threatened; they try to make themselves feel better by bringing down/downplaying the one who threatens them. It’s a survival tool so to speak.  It is also a way of hiding just how unhappy one is with oneself. When you are truly comfortable with who you are and you accept all your strengths and flaws, you will not feel the need to defend or validate yourself to anyone. Your behaviour, actions and lifestyle will attest to this. You will embrace others and their beauty/creativity/greatness with open arms. I think therefore that this sort of awkwardness (for lack of a better word) between the black African sisters may be partly as a result of our issues with our own worth/value. We’re afraid that the other sister will outshine or outdo us and we’ll no longer be important or valued. We may feel that we’ll become useless so to speak and no one ever wants to feel that way. And so we think that the best way to avoid that is to squash any potential threat immediately.

I also believe that another reason could be because our society today has downplayed and put down the black woman (and most especially the bAw) considerably. I’ve heard it said quite a bit that there is a hierarchy in terms of which race of women is most desired or deemed most attractive by men. I’m not too sure who is at the top of this list but the black sisters are apparently at the bottom. Statistically, they are the ones most likely to not end up married or to marry much later amongst their female counterparts (Black women least likely group to marry).   They also have to fight harder to be heard or to advance in their careers. The bAw therefore comes with a whole lot working against her from the onset, so no wonder why she’s now defensive and fearful even with her own sisters. She’s been conditioned to strive and fight to be seen, heard and accepted. This leads me to believe that maybe this is why she then struggles to accept another black sister immediately without also seeing her as competition.

Needless to say, there are also black sisters who don’t struggle with this problem and I thank God for that! It truly is a beautiful thing when you have black women who love and accept one another from the onset. One of the most life-giving and inspiring things to see is a group of women who cherish and build each other up. And so I would like to encourage my fellow bAw to first examine their own thoughts/feelings/initial reactions to other black women. Be honest with yourself about how accommodating you are and if there are any personal issues you may have that you could possibly be projecting onto others. When you know yourself better you’ll be better able and more willing to embrace other people that you come in contact with. There is power in unity my sisters, so let’s all pull together and affect the world positively.

What has your experience been with other sisters? Have you felt judged/hated on by other women or have you yourself found yourself being unkind to other women? Maybe you’ve experienced some really positive interactions with your fellow sisters. Either way, we’d love to hear about it so please do share:)

Remember that I’m praying for you!

With love,

Sonia Dube


  1. Thanks Sonia for such a lovely article. You know it really awaken some thoughts in me. I could say I have been part of “the not so fit it” or hated and honestly I think to a certain extent I have exercised some judgment. Women have lot of issues. I remember being around a group of ladies who came from well off families. Initially it was okay b4 we mentioned off our background. But I can assure you immediately after dat the discussion was just so bitter for me to swallow. I remember this other moment the ladies were discussing about their lifestyle: holidays they go to, parties they attend etc. Knowing where I come from I completely felt left out and not even belonging. I recall vividly I was the only lady without weave and this other lady without asking me said “yeah weaves are very expensive, its okay you keeping it short, atleast u not forcing things” I wanted to respond bitter but I knew right then I was in the wrong crew. We black women we class each other, be it lifestyle, background and many more. I would say most women suffer from narcissism. Its a serious issue. We turn to think so high of ourselves that we forget the person next to us.
    And the other thing is we women talk and share a lot about ourselves. So the moment a new lady rock ups, we already concerned about her know about and before we know her, we’ve already classed some1 without getting to know her.
    Another thing we as women depends more on friendship. Some even make lifetime decisions that should also fit the crew. While there’s nothing wrong with friendship, as a lady spending time alone can be quite helpful as it helps one to define herself on the basis of identity vs isolation. Most ladies its not that they want to make a new lady to feel uncomfortable, it is because they have never figured themselves out, hence they just go with the crew ‘doing what friends do’.You know if u ve never been to yourself, get to know who you are apart from friends, You can be a very disastrous tool to even people around you: Starting to hate and judge other sisters as a result of being a confused soul. We ladies need to be clear with our values and self worth. Until then, we will keep on hating and judging one another.

    Mpho Papo

    Thanks Sonia for sharing ur article


    1. Hey Mpho

      Wow! Thank you so much for opening up like that. It sounds like you’ve had a really difficult time with ladies and being accepted by them. For that I am sorry. I am so glad to hear though that you have not allowed it to break you but you have chosen to learn from it. And the biggest lesson that I can hear you have learnt is the importance of loving oneself as a woman so as not to put other women down and judge them. It is always great when at least even one woman comes to this realization and chooses to learn and grow from it. May you spread what you have learnt with other women 🙂


  2. Sonie… This is just amazing.

    I must say, i am glad you brought this up. Reason being that i have observed that sometimes we as women do not only look down on the other woman! But we tend to want to make her the way we want her to be. She then ends up losing herself in the process and not realising her purpose in time. In other instances however some women group up and want to build each other up and when another woman wants to join that “group”, it is not comfortable because the “group” would have pushed them away even before they try.

    The main reason i believe is that we as women tend to be so fake towards each other sometimes and it is heart breaking to see that. We love to project our insecurities in other people. We are so busy planning on how to hurt others without even realising it. Simply because it has become second nature to us, we can even do that it our sleep.

    I agree with your statement “There is power in unity my sisters, so let’s all pull together and affect the world positively.” however how is a woman supposed to do that if she is not wanted in the first place, or she has been made to feel worthless by the very same people who are supposed to be there to pull her up.

    If we could really sit down and think about our lives we will realise that every bAw needs another bAw. My best friend once told me that there are some experiences she has gone through to help me and the same applies to me, She was very right. My question when it comes to bAw(s) is this: How will you help someone if all you can do is put them down. Many situations we face are similar but if we cannot help each other and share experiences (positive and negative) then how will we unite? May God Helps us…

    God bless your Ministry Sonia!

    Much Love


    1. Hi Stha

      Again thank you for being so candid. I think you have voiced the pain that many other women have (and may currently still) be experiencing. I’m also really sorry for what you’ve had to endure at the hands of those you are meant to call your sisters. And you’ve brought forward a great point – how we try to change other women.

      In response to your question about not being accepted by a group of other bAw whom you should essentially recieve support and encouragement from, I would say that if they refuse to accept you it is not a reflection on you but them. Unfortunately, not every woman will learn and accept this notion of lifting up other bAw but there are those who will. I believe that when we pray and ask God to direct us to such women, He certainly will. For a long time I struggled to find other women who I could relate to and who I believed could build me up but I prayed and after some years and some mistakes, God blessed me with them. I know He can do the same for you. And you don’t necessarily need to belong to a “group” but even in that group, you can find one woman you can relate well with. The point is to find meaningful connections amongst each other and allow those women who lift us up to form a part of our lives – whether as individuals or as a group. I personally have that in my life – individual women and a group of women that build me up.

      May God help us indeed and I pray you may become an uplifting bAw that you may attract even more such bAw into your life.


  3. Thank you for this Sonie… Very very true what you say. We need to learn to be gentle with each other. I need to learn to be gentle and love to others. Very true that which you say..


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