Every morning women get up early, make food, clean and do the washing – all before they go to work. And when women leave home, they leave worried. They worry about their children – are they safe, is someone looking after them, what are their children doing?
And when the women come home, there is more work to be done. Food must be cooked, the dishes must be washed and the children must get some love. Women work twenty four hours a day.
At work, some men whistle at women, touch them and treat women like pretty things made to play with. Women are paid lower wages than men. And many bosses do not like to train women. They say women are always going off and having babies.
Every day women are made to feel less important than men. Women around the world and in South Africa are fighting against this. But often women’s voices are not heard.
In 1982 women from different parts of Durban came together. They talked about problems in their homes. They spoke about women organising together. In the end the women decided to start a magazine.
The Durban women wanted a magazine that would write about their problems, about women in organisations, about children and health. And that was how Speak started.
Now many women write to Speak. They tell Speak about their lives. They talk about how difficult it is to be wives, mothers and workers at the same time. They say that men must help with the housework. They must help look after the children.
Speak also goes out to talk to women. They spoke to the Foschini workers. The women at Foschini were angry. Workers were losing their jobs. But the women at Foschini said they wanted to share all the work. So everyone kept their jobs, but everyone worked for a shorter time.
Speak visited the Northlen women in Phoenix. They told Speak how they started their women’s groups. And how they then started to run play schools for the children of working mothers.
Schoolgirls from Kwa-Mashu told Speak how they found it hard to be girls. They said they had to help at home, but their brothers did nothing.
In every magazine Speak has a story about women’s bodies and health. Speak writes about skin lightening creams, contraception and periods. Speak says that women must know about their bodies. Women must choose what is good for them.
Speak says, “No people can be free until the women are free.” Speak comes in Zulu and English. If you want to get Speak, or if you want to write to Speak about your problems, their address is: Speak Collective P.O. Box 19375 Domerton DURBAN 4015