“Men, go and pay your Papgeld.” This was mayor Dan Plato’s strong and uncompromising message to the few men who were in attendance at a Women’s Day event hosted at Dulcie September Civic Centre in Athlone on Wednesday 14 August.
The event, which is an annual affair, was organised by the City council in a bid to celebrate women and the role they play in the community.
Themed “Be Bold, Step up and Speak Out”, the event was attended by women from various areas in Cape Town.
They were invited by the council and each one of them cracked the invite because of the community work they do. Keeping the attendees awake and captivated with his jokes, Jamayne Andrews was the master of ceremonies.
The event was opened with a prayer. Ward 49 councillor, Rashid Adams welcomed the guests. He gave them a brief history about the woman the venue is named after.
He explained the importance of knowing who September was as the celebration was about women.
“She was one of the first students to attend Athlone High School – an activist who fought the struggle. It is, therefore, an honour for me to welcome each and every one of you wonderful people. Enjoy the rest of the evening,” he said.
When Plato took to the podium to deliver the keynote address, he congratulated women for the great work they do.
He said the event had a significant meaning as it was celebrating significant people.
“It is a special occasion. We want to give women something special. Something they can enjoy,” he explained.
He went on to touch on a variety of community issues.
He condemned the killings of innocent people.
He called on the community to come together and fight against the killings. He urged mothers to be honest about their sons who are committing crimes.
He relayed an incident in Delft where a boy allegedly shot and killed another. When Plato went into the house with police, he said the mother claimed her son had been in the house the entire day.
He said as the mother was covering up for her son, police saw a gun hidden between her breasts. The son pretended to have been sleeping even though he had his shoes on.
He also encouraged mothers to support and encourage their sons to finish school. By so doing, they will succeed, he promised. He advised the attendees to use his grandmother’s principle of behaving well.
“My grandmother used to say, even if you are poor, you can be polite. Even if you are poor, you do not have to join gangsterism,” he shared.
The event was a fusion of entertainment and meals.
To keep them rejuvenated, was Saalim Ishmail who serenaded them to the sounds of songs such as “You Raised Me Up.”
Enjoying themselves were Margaret Olain and Joan Leukes, Manenberg and Athlone residents.
They said they were delighted to be part of the event that is celebrating them as women.
Olain thanked the City for the opportunity. She said it was a great opportunity that many people wish for but they did not get. She spoke briefly about challenges they face as women.
“Some of us raise children as single parents but that should not make us to want to give up in life. Opportunities like today help us, motivate us to do something for our lives,” she said.
For Leukes, the gathering helped her to mingle and make new friends. She commended the team that organised the event by saying she was impressed with the setup.
She said some of the challenges women face are that of safety and said she was impressed with how involved women are in their communities.
“I want to say to all the women out there, thank you for working tirelessly, in a positive way. Promoting health and considering the safety of children and other women,” she said.