Women hon­our ‘he­roes’ of 1956

De­part­ment cel­e­brates his­toric event

Go! & Express - - In King - DES­MOND COETZEE

THE De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries in King Wil­liam’s Town cel­e­brated their Women’s Day in vin­tage and tra­di­tional style last week.

There was a lov­ing at­mo­sphere cre­ated by women dressed in true African at­tire. The theme was “be­ing a strong woman is not an op­tion but a ne­ces­sity” with fe­male staff and em­ploy­ees at­tached to the de­part­ment from across the province gath­ered to re­mem­ber those women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against the per­mit sys­tem (“dom­pas”).

The brave women also de­manded to be recog­nised as equals by men.

De­part­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Linda Donkrag said they had in­vited speak­ers from dif­fer­ent spheres of life to the oc­ca­sion.

Among the at­ten­dees was a gy­nae­col­o­gist re­spon­si­ble for the Amath­ole re­gion of the De­part­ment of Health, Dr Si­bongile Man­dondo, who spoke on the topic of cer­vi­cal cancer, breast cancer and how im­por­tant it is for women to do a pap smear an­nu­ally.

An­other was mo­ti­va­tional speaker, Abi­gail Mvunelo, who spoke about “sis­ter­hood in the work­place” who ex­plained how im­por­tant it was for women to have each other’s backs and also have em­pa­thy to­wards one an­other – es­pe­cially when one was go­ing through hard­ships.

“We need to love and support each other,” she em­pha­sised.

Link FM re­porter Kholiswa Ngolofwana was the fi­nal speaker. She told the au­di­ence that “be­ing a strong woman is not an op­tion”. She also placed em­pha­sis on how im­por­tant it is for fe­males to pray and cre­ate a re­la­tion­ship with God and share their life chal­lenges with the Almighty.

She also spoke about what she de­scribed as a huge hur­dle to progress among women namely, com­pe­ti­tion.

“Never com­pete with any­one but your­self be­cause you do not know where the other per­son is com­ing from and where they have been,” Ngolofwana said.

She also high­lighted that be­ing pos­i­tive and hav­ing self-con­fi­dence were very im­por­tant at­tributes if women were to be in­de­pen­dent, to en­able them to cope with life’s chal­lenges.

Forestry em­ploy­ees in at­ten­dance felt up­lifted by the talks, that re­vived their spir­i­tual lives.

“The speak­ers have mo­ti­vated us with up­lift­ing mes­sages of support and courage and also en­cour­aged us to have prayer ses­sion at the work­place so we can be able to support each other spir­i­tu­ally,” Donkrag said.

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