As long as people live in poverty in South Africa, people will lack self-respect and dignity. How do we expect people to respect others in relationships when they do not have a common sense of self-respect?
When we travelled to a rural school in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape during the 2012 Bikers for Mandela Day campaign, I was shocked to see children at school having to use the open veld between classrooms as a toilet because there were no ablution facilities.
A little girl of about eight went into a squatting position in view of us and all the children at the school. She simply turned her face the other way and my only thought was for her dignity. She will grow up thinking little of herself or her privacy or having respect for her own body and without intervention she will probably accept abuse because of a lack of dignity she is now exposed to.
We can change that by pressurising the government to fast-track the provision of basic services to the poorest of the poor.
Without that we are destined to bring up more young women who will subject themselves to abuse because they think it is acceptable.
And while we are waiting for that to happen, charities like the 1st for Women Insurance Trust, support organisations that combat abuse against women and children. We have to give our people hope for a better future.
Zelda la Grange, private secretary to ex-president Nelson Mandela, will be blogging for YOU during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. Sheworks with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and does motivational talks. She is also active with projects such as Bikers for Mandela Day and Sisters with Blisters in her role as patron for the 1st for Women Insurance Trust.