Honour women’s struggle at conference
WE must all join women of our country and declare boldly that the struggle for women is not over, and that we will support women in the task to be champions who would ensure the realisation of the ideals of South Africa envisioned in the Freedom Charter.
What is important with regard to the August commemoration, is to learn from the courage women had in shaping their destiny, despite the enormous odds against them.
In our times, the meaning of August remains the yearning for education by our women – and mostly young women – consistent with the demands of our economy.
In August 1956, it was about rejecting the apartheid pass laws system that sought to oppress them, and today is about calling for access to economic and skills development that would help reverse the systematic marginalisation of our women and mothers, in what others have called a “two-economy” scenario, and afford our women decent and quality jobs as well as socio-economic equality.
We would indeed have failed the generation of the 1956 women if we dare forget that none among our women must feel marginalised or without real opportunity to develop.
Our struggle for women is not that of comedians shouting from the top of mountains, but one informed by real challenges facing our women who still constitute the majority of the unemployed, abused and those feeling isolated.
Many of our women were persecuted for the freedom that we enjoy today, and they did this without expectation for gain, because they were in the service of their country and people.
Today, thanks to their historic and heroic struggles, we have through freedom the opportunity to commemorate their role in conditions of peace and democracy as we celebrate Women’s Month.
Our women are highly politically conscious, and we will reject the notion that women are housewives, indoctrinated as though they were some robots whose sole purpose of existence is to cook for men and to fulfil tasks set by the programmer.
Our mothers and women must be central in determining the outcomes of the challenges we face in the various facets of our national development, lest they cry foul after decades of democracy that freedom means nothing to them.
For this reason, I call on ANC branches to support the election of a female ANC deputy president at the 54th national elective conference. I call on ANC branches to field comrade Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa as the ANC president and that the deputy president be a women of comrade Lindiwe Sisulu’s character.
We all owe this precious freedom to the various generations of women who fought for our freedom.
We owe heroines, such as Charlotte Maxeke, Lilian Masediba Ngoyi, Adelaide Tambo, Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, Ruth First, Helen Joseph, Nonyamezelo Mxenge, Ruth Mompati, and all women whose lives were submitted to achieve this democracy.
In doing so, we must also be vigilant in the face of intense antagonism. It must never elude us that forces of counter-revolution remain active and are waiting in the wings to pounce and destroy this ANC’s hard-fought democracy.
Let’s be united in this view as we march towards the 54th NEC and as Eastern Cape branches be united towards the eighth provincial elective conference by ensuring that we field comrade Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane as the provincial chairman, comrade Mlungisi Gerald Mvoko as deputy provincial chairman, comrade Lulama Ngcukayithobi as the provincial secretary, comrade Helen August-Sauls as the deputy provincial secretary and comrade Babalo Madikizela as the provincial treasurer, and not isolating comrade Phumulo Masaulle to the incoming NEC of this glorious movement.
Masaulle's leadership experience is highly needed in the ANC NEC. We appreciate his role in our provincial politics for the past two terms at the helm as chairman. He deserves the NEC and I soberly call to him as a person to lead on this call.
COMRADE VIWE SIDALI, EAST LONDON
SHAPING DESTINY: ANC branches should field Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president and a woman as ANC deputy president