Remarkable women honoured at Freedom Park event
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Freedom Park yesterday paid homage to the remarkable women who have displayed exemplary devotion in their respective fields.
The special Women’s Day celebration kicked off with a praise poem for the late Struggle stalwart Charlotte Maxeke and under the theme “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”.
The poem paid homage to Maxeke, a South African religious leader and social and political activist as this year’s Women's Month is themed “Year of Charlotte Maxeke: Realising Women's Rights”.
Freedom Park chief executive Jane Mufamadi said the aim was to unpack and discuss what women from different industries and walks of life were doing to ensure that women's rights for an equal future were realised.
Panelists included SABC international news editor Sophie Mokoena, disabled TV personality and motivational speaker Masingita Masunga, and Miante Manufacturing managing director Wendy Mpendulo.
Panellists and the audience discussed various ways in which women can be empowered, how women equality can be realised in South Africa, which is one of the most unequal countries in the world.
The message that echoed throughout was that women need to support and help each other rise, and that women need to break all the barriers that have been set.
Masunga, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is a celebrated host of the TV show Masingita with Confidence, said a lot of focus has been placed on the struggles women face instead of celebrating them.
“The struggle must stop. In Women’s Month we tend to focus on all the struggles and suffering, we now need to start celebrating the milestones and other good things that women do and have done,” the 43-year-old said.
Touching on the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, Masunga said being a black woman in South Africa was a disability on its own.
She said: “The system and everything else in this country is against black women. The system alone enables a lot of the wrongdoings against women, especially rape and other forms of abuse.”
Mpendulo of Miante Manufacturing said society had normalised gender-based violence in such a way that abuse against women and children was no longer regarded as a crime, and women always had to work harder to find spaces for themselves.
“South Africa’s policies and by-laws are great on paper but the will to help women and to implement the very same policies is very slow. This makes it look as if women do not know what they are doing. Women always have to work extra hard to prove themselves.”