On 3rd Degree tonight:
Episode: Culture Shock
Broadcast date: 18 March, 2008 at 20h00
When a group of taxi drivers at the Noord Street taxi rank stripped Mnwabisa Ngukana naked, they told her they did it to teach her a lesson in wearing sexually demure clothing.
But now Ngukana is turning the tables on them and teaching taxi drivers a lesson in respect and gender equality. Ngukana says she decided to go to the media with her story to highlight the plight of women who are constantly subjected to public humiliation at the hands of taxi drivers, who say they are asking to get raped if they wear a mini-skirt.
Her story struck a chord. In Johannesburg, women put on their mini-skirts and took to the streets to march in protest against her attack. It soon became clear that hers was not an isolated incident and the taxi drivers at the Noord Street taxi rank were not the only culprits.
This week another victim, Zinhle Khumalo speaks to 3rd Degree about her horrific ordeal at a different taxi rank.
And this story is echoed in Durban where Zandile Mpanza was stripped and made to parade half-naked in public because she chose to wear a pair of khaki pants. Later her family and their neighbours the Ngcobo’s were left destitute when both their homes were burnt down.
The reason given for the arson - to punish the women in both household because they flouted an imposed ban on women wearing pants in that community. The ban is still in place at the T-section of Umlazi Township, but the defiant Zandile is fighting for her rights at the Umlazi equality court.
She has laid a charge of infringement of human rights and dignity. Her case is the first of its kind and its outcome may set a precedent for other cases.
Why are women’s rights to dignity violated in the democratic South Africa? What right do men have to tell women how to dress?
Debora Patta poses these questions to taxi drivers at the now infamous Noord Street taxi rank.
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