Black Fri­day debt warn­ing for SA

Econ­o­mist warns mil­lions of in­debted con­sumers not to over­spend.

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Chi­som Jen­nif­fer Okoye – jen­nif­[email protected]­i­

Founder of the Ru­ral Women’s Move­ment has helped thou­sands.

Af­ter wit­ness­ing her mother’s evic­tion from her mar­i­tal home by the pa­ter­nal side of her fam­ily, a girl of 10 in ru­ral KwaZulu-Na­tal be­gan to find her call­ing – to help women in her com­mu­nity.

More than 60 years later aged 73, Sizani Ngubane is be­ing hon­oured for her work as a women’s and in­dige­nous ac­tivist. She is the only African nom­i­nated for the 2020 Martin En­nals Award, also re­ferred to as the No­bel Prize for de­fend­ers of hu­man rights de­fend­ers.

The Martin En­nals Foun­da­tion will host Ngubane and the two other nom­i­na­tees from Ye­men and Mex­ico in Geneva in Fe­bru­ary next year. A jury com­pris­ing mem­bers of 10 prom­i­nent hu­man rights groups, in­clud­ing Amnesty In­ter­na­tional and Hu­man Rights Watch, will an­nounce the win­ner on Fe­bru­ary 19.

Grow­ing up in the 1950s dur­ing the apartheid era, Ngubane de­vel­oped a po­lit­i­cal aware­ness of her place in the world as a black per­son be­fore she was 10. Her fa­ther was a mi­grant worker in Jo­han­nes­burg so she lived with her mother who was a maid in the city in KZN. As the el­dest child, she took care of her four sib­lings.

When her mother bought her a ra­dio and she heard about what was go­ing on in the coun­try her pas­sion to fight the regime was ig­nited. “I was six when I told my mother that when I grow up, I want to go to other places and learn how other women in Africa tackle their chal­lenges so I could share the in­for­ma­tion with women here (in South Africa).”

Soon af­ter that one of her fa­ther’s broth­ers force­fully evicted her mother and the chil­dren while her fa­ther was work­ing in Jo­han­nes­burg.

They moved into her mother’s aunt’s home in a nearby com­mu­nity and she ac­com­pa­nied her mother to see the lo­cal head­man to ask for land to be al­lo­cated to them.

“He said, ‘Mama Ngubane, I wish your daugh­ter was your son. I would have al­lo­cated you a piece of land now. But un­for­tu­nately I can­not al­lo­cate land to you be­cause your boys are still too young.

“I re­mem­ber how sad my mum looked. It was 64 years ago and my mom died five years ago, but when I think about it tears start rolling down my face un­con­trol­lably.”

Af­ter years of serv­ing as an ANC mem­ber, Ngubane set up the Ru­ral Women’s Move­ment in 1990 to help women bat­tling land is­sues and rights vi­o­la­tions. Through her or­gan­i­sa­tion, she has helped thou­sands of women.

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