Women uplifted

2016-09-07 06:00
AT the event are from the left Urshulla Motsage (Department of Economic Development), Lilly Fritz (Wemi founder), Gift Bosman (Department of Economic Development), Georginah Links (Commission of Gender Equality), Merlien Moseki (Social Development), Jimmy Mafofololo (Ward 3 councillor) and Winnie Malinga (programme director).     Photos: Boipelo Mere

AT the event are from the left Urshulla Motsage (Department of Economic Development), Lilly Fritz (Wemi founder), Gift Bosman (Department of Economic Development), Georginah Links (Commission of Gender Equality), Merlien Moseki (Social Development), Jimmy Mafofololo (Ward 3 councillor) and Winnie Malinga (programme director). Photos: Boipelo Mere

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ONCE again the Women Empowerment Movement International (Wemi) has succeeded in touching the lives of women in an effort to uplift them spiritually, as well as materially.

Wemi, accompanied by several government departments and other institutions, went on its annual mission to Pniel, just outside Barkly West.

Celebrating its ninth anniversary, the movement launched a new branch in Pniel on Saturday, 20 August, at the Service Centre for the elderly.

Pniel is famous for having been home to Sol Plaatje when he attended the mission school in his youth.

Plaatje, who was born in Boshof in the Free State, became an internationally acclaimed writer and politician.

Like many other places that suffered under apartheid, Pniel is a shell of what it was supposed to be, given the fact that it is built on top of the diamond-rich and fertile agricultural land along the Vaal River.

Georginah Links, of the Commission of Gender Equality, highlighted the need for empowerment for the women in the area.

“Women need to be empowered and do not need to depend on child support grants, as is the case here,” said Links.

“We have to become nurturers and not end up fighting for the grant, as is happening to many couples nowadays.”

She urged women to make use of available opportunities, and of the land that was restored to them, instead of being depen-dent on government hand-outs.

She also spoke out against young people who stood idly by while elderly people had to run the vegetable stalls owned by the community.

Different speakers referred to the high rate of alcohol abuse by young people and women in the area.

According to the founder and president of Wemi, Lilly Fritz, the decision to hold their annual women’s day event in Pniel arose from a desire to enhance the status of women in the province, particularly in rural areas.

“The message that I brought to the women in Pniel is one of hope and cou-rage,” said Fritz in her speech.

“Even if things are tough out there, it is possible to reach your dreams.

“I am living proof of that. I have scars all over my body, but I soldiered on.

“I can tell you that I was not even sure if catering would be provided for this launch.

“I don’t know how I will pay the camera man or transport, but the God I am praying to has always provided for me” said Fritz, who is also a pastor.

Winnie Malinga, programme director of the day, encouraged women to compare themselves to donkeys.

“Let pain and disappointment make you stronger. Have the courage to shake it off and to carry on,” said Malinga.

Women were encouraged not to allow any kind of abuse by men to cloud their judgement.

Marliene Moseki of the Department of Justice said the fact that men pay lobola for their brides, did not give them the right to turn them into punching bags.

“Lobola is a token of appreciation to the woman’s family for turning their rose into a pineapple. Pay lobola to enjoy your marriage.”

Jimmy Mafofololo, the Ward 3 councillor, urged women to stand up and not allow the water scarcity in their area to continue.

“Let us join those who have already started to do something about our water predicament.

“This is the beginning of the success that will be achieved by our partnership.

“People must speak, and I will be their voice to speak and present them to the council,” he said while condemning internal divisions in the community.

Gift Bosman of the Department of Economic Development told the women that grants of R350 000 were available to people with viable businesses.

He urged people to visit his office to familiarise themselves with the services his department provide in order for them to grow their businesses.

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