Smarts sisters do it for a cause

2015-10-01 06:00

Elizabeth Fouty-Likeme.

Elizabeth Fouty-Likeme.

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Single Mothers Assembling Righteously Through Sisterhood (Smarts), a self-explanatory organisation, was launched last Saturday in Khayelitsha.

Its mission is to unite and look at the plight of single mothers and the support they need under the theme, “Ubuntu Through Sisterhood”.

The event also coincided with the end of the Heritage Month, which was also brought to focus by the organisers.

Elizabeth Fouty-Likeme, is the founder of the organisation.

A single mother and also a child of a single mother herself, she explained the reasoning behind the organization.

“Single mothers have their single motherhood in common. The motive is not to point fingers to anyone about our situation but to support each other,”

Since its formation, Smarts has touched the hearts of many women who identified with the cause of single mothers.

“Our call is also for the support of their children as well,” she shared.

Likeme said that society had the tendency to treat children born out of wedlock as “illegitimate”.

“These children continue to bear the brunt of societal ills.

The ultimate price is that these children will hit back at society by resorting to drugs, criminal activities, joining gangs, rape crimes, social abuse, and all social ills that are rampant in our society today,” Likeme added.

During the launch, she also reminded attendees of the famous words of late icon Nelson Mandela: “It takes a village to raise a child”.

She pointed out that if mothers have the space to grow responsible citizens, society also benefits as these children will plough back to the society.

Simamkele Chidozie, one of the speakers, spoke of the societal responsibility of rearing the children of others.

“The responsibility of raising children does not only lie with the mother, but with society as well. That is what Ubuntu teaches us.”

The difference between single motherhood and single parent hood was also highlighted during the launch.

Society has always treated single mothers differently from the single father who raises his children alone.

They tend to put the blame squarely on the absent mother or relatives. The brunt is heavier on those who have never been married.

This group tend to get resentment from their own children as well.

It is estimated that in South Africa only 33% of black children under five years old lived with both parents.

Statistics SA also mentioned that 93% of those children had both parents alive. Most of these children live in poverty.

South Africa has not come to terms with the reality of these women, as there are no dedicated institutions to deal with their cause.

Chidozie said single mothers have no specialized institutions that are dedicated to dealing with their unique situations.

“It is therefore an important step to have organisations such as Smarts which is founded and run by single mothers.

These mothers need dedicated support and institutions which deal directly with them and specialize in dealing with their problems and providing needed support.

Single mothers do not always share the same predicament though, but Smarts understands the importance of focusing on the most vulnerable.

It remains to be seen whether Smarts will have an impact in society.

“That depends on society as a whole. Our role is to increase the awareness of the uniqueness situation of each single mother and mobilise support,” Likeme concluded

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