By: Barbara Atsieno Alusala

St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls, Hillcrest, South Africa


She burns.

She is a bright, hot, walking eruption of beauty. When she walks, eyes fall on her. The ground beneath her shakes. Plant embryos sprout from the ground in anticipation so as to not miss the spectacle that passes by. Dark skies split open to make way for the sun – for only its radiance is bright enough to surpass her glow. When she speaks, the world is enthralled, holding on to the words she utters as though they were gold. She knows her value and she puts the men who dare to challenge her finesse to shame. Who is she?

She is woman.

Without her glow, the world is dreary and cold. It is lifeless and monotonous. Embryos become stubborn in the ground for they know what awaits them above. The sun retires and appears for short spells, its presence no better than that of a dying streetlight in the night. Without her, the words of the world are corrupt and dry – gasping desperately for justice and life.

Even though she is the source of vivacity, zest, and felicity, many are still oblivious to the significance of her presence. Naïve; they cast their eyes away and deem themselves more powerful – confidently leading their world into annihilation. They doubt Woman’s power and deem her unequal or unfit to lead. Woman allows herself to be brainwashed by their ways. She follows and soon becomes blind to her own radiance. Her feet drag as she walks yet the flowers still bloom in her path and the sun still shines brightly upon her head. She sees it not, for her head droops, her eyes are filled with tears of worthlessness, and her shoulders carry empty struggles. The source of her power – her heart – dampens as she becomes dubious of her capabilities and self-worth.

But I am not.

Stand strong Woman! Stand strong! I say: you are the light and the hope that the world needs. It waits patiently for you. How much longer will you sit despairing in your puddle of self-pity? Do not lose yourself in the ways of this world. Dry your tears! Clear your eyes of the dust that corrupts your visions and aspirations. You have the power to move mountains. Your mind has the strength of a thousand men. Your destiny lies not in the shadows, but in the light, where all can dote in your presence once again. You are beautiful, and you are capable. I know this because I have seen your power and might. I know this because you are Woman. I know this because I am Woman too.