In the 21st century, or rather the information age, we still find women especially black women being marginalized and ostracized – by virtue of being black and woman. I have gravitated more towards womanism than feminism – I just felt that as a black woman I face the double edged sword in both the world and the church. Feminism at times, does not treat the wounds that are experienced by Black women, this could be because it tends to have western ideals on how to deal with the subjugation of black women; however that is a piece for another day…
Many people find it hard to conceptualize the idea of a woman being a Christian and a womanist- to me that is like you simply saying that I can be a woman but I should never be concerned with the issues that plague black women. Secondly you are denying me the right to be feminine – should I be masculine? This article is really my official coming out piece – I am coming out to the world boldly to say that I believe in God, Jesus Christ (his second coming), The Holy Spirit and I choose to advocate gender justice and African women’s justice. I am aware that some feathers will be ruffled, but I am not here for that; I am here for the many young women in the church like me, who can no longer be silenced. I am here for the women who are told to keep their mouth shut when oppression is happening because it is in the church. I am also here for the young Christian women who have been side lined by elitist feminist organizations- because they choose to love and believe in God!
What is wrong with being a Christian and a womanist? According to the norms and values of society, the other side believes that Christianity is patriarchal – I don’t think it is as a system, I believe it is because of those who bring their worldly concepts into the church and yes there are those who use it as tool to oppress women. There are misogynists who hide behind quoting scripture out of context! This leaves us with the world shunning us Christians who believe in justice for women. On the other hand you have the church that sees feminism and womanism as a tool to perpetuate lesbianism, witchcraft and misandry. Misinformed- you need to understand the origins and hermeneutics of the movement it is dynamic! This is sad, because the aim of the movement is to fight for equality and to eliminate abuse and oppression. There will always be a problem when human beings start using systems of liberality to oppress, or even side line others – which happens in both Christianity and in Womanism movements alike.
Now, my question is where can we find a safe place, where can we be embraced if both sides feel that we need to divorce one or the other? How do I choose to discard my faith when I love my faith dearly, that has informed my behavior and transformed me, because I want to be a womanist? The other question could be; how do I choose not to speak against woman abuse and the ostracizing of black women in the corporate world? The answer, is no! I cannot and will not divorce one from the other, simply because the commandments of God are based on equality and justice- it was Christ who often stood up for women, and I think we need to get to a place where we stop making Christian Womanists feel out of place for being bold enough to be practical about their faith. There is no either or for me, and I have decided to say no to being bullied by both sides.
I am what God has called me to be, and being a Christian requires that I never turn a blind eye on any form of oppression because I may be stepping on someone’s toes. I have an obligation to God, and that is to love humankind and to speak up for the weak. Therefore I am a Christian and I am a Womanist, do you mind?
Euphony Paballo Kgadima, is 28 years old and lives in Soweto. She currently works for L’Oreal as an Education Manager for one of their luxury brands- Kiehl’s. She is a YAWM (Young Adventist Women’s Ministries) leader in her church at Orlando West SDA, and because she is passionate about women she is the founder of Women in Dialogue Sessions. Women in Dialogue Sessions is a platform for women to safely engage on their issues, and it is used as a spring board to create a support network to fuel businesses, corporate careers, arts & culture and academics alike. Euphony is a womanist; hence she is vocal about women’s issues. In her spare time she enjoys reading and she is working on her brand because she believes that she has been called to be an entrepreneur more than anything. She used to run Skin Therapist SA which was an initiative on educating people on their skin- it will be re-launched soon as Skin Dialogues. Finally, she also has a blog called ‘A Woman in Dialogue’ launching end of October!