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A 2015 survey done by period app Clue showed that there are more than 5 000 euphemisms for the word menstruation in 190 different countries.
The study which involved over 90,000 people disclosed that instead of period or menstruation people use terms such as Having the painters in, Mother nature, Monthly friend and many more. Some common terms South African girls use include Exesheni, Usenyangeni, O mo nakonga.
The thousands of coded names to refer to periods alone tells how much of a taboo the whole issue of menstruation is, more so in the African culture.
Despite the stereotype surrounding the whole issue of menstruation, 31-year-old Kamogelo Mampatla Betha, a taxi driver from South Africa carries sanitary pads in his car for his female clients.
The driver from Lebowakgomo in Limpopo was instantly promoted to fame after he revealed through Facebook that he purchases sanitary pads and stocks them monthly for female passengers who aboard his taxi.
In his Facebook post, he wrote, “I take it upon myself to buy pads for the children that board my taxi every month, it’s only R20. Some can afford them and some don’t. But even those who do sometimes forget them at the worst times. Be a real man and look after our woman and children. Diff express. Diff Unity”
The taxi driver who has become an internet sensation divulged that the idea to purchase the sanitary pads floated his mind after he noticed that school-going girls often stained his car’s seats.
“Sometimes I would even find toilet paper they had used for their menstruation and that affected me because I realised that some people cannot afford pads. It’s really sad, people are very poor and cannot afford such cheap items,” he explained.
The youthful driver disclosed that he keeps stocking sanitary pads on the dashboard. He further called on other taxi drivers to join the initiative adding that sanitary pads are “only ZAR 17.”
Kamogelo further revealed that he now also purchases wipes “so that those who leak can use them.”
Even as he tries to normalise menstruation in his community, he says he faces backlash owed to the fact that people find it taboo to speak about periods.
“If condoms can be available everywhere, pads should be too, ” he insisted adding that sex is more accepted than menstruation.
“There are a few kids who are still shy to use the pads because some of the boys make funny faces and remarks when they see that someone is menstruating, however, I have tried to normalise this by talking to them and explaining that this is normal,” Kamogelo said.
Featured Image Courtesy: Tunbridge Wells Taxi
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