In her welcoming address, Professor Mayekiso reminded attendees of the brave and notable women to whom Women’s Month is dedicated, and how after the historic march of 9 August 1956, the country was forever changed.
“To this day “Wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo” still reverberates in our hearts and minds reminding us as women from all walks of life, that the struggle continues.
“New frontiers and greater challenges are beckoning: the fight for equality and equity, starving to resolve sustainable development goals, awareness of climate change, and eradicating the scourge that is gender-based violence (GBV),” she said.
The Vice-Chancellor noted the well-known Swahili proverb which translates to: ‘When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you’, reminding the women at the event that the best lies within them.
“If we miss this, we will forever be in a frantic search, not realising that the best in us is already there. A focus on the why of our pure existence, as well as the how of it, are among the tools that can lead us to discover the best in ourselves.
Siyabuswa Programme Director, Professor Hilda Israel.
“To discover the best in us entails answering the why question. The Why interrogative gets clearer when we look closely that no two people are the same. Each of us is unique and has a quintessential contribution to make.”
Once you answer the question: Why am I on the earth? What is my purpose?, much will become clear.
Professor Mayekiso outlined the tools to discovering your purpose and taking the first step towards discovering the best within.
“You and only you can fulfil your purpose. Purpose can be found in statements such as: “My purpose is to empower others, to unleash the potential of others, to ensure that all are treated as equal, to solve problems based on my skill set, to leverage technology to empower others and to mentor young women to lift as I rise,” she explained.
Professor Mayekiso further mentioned that passion, the energy that we bring in pursuit of our purpose, is vital. As is working long hours and not watching the clock; pushing hard even as our energy levels go down; and to never be discouraged by the naysayers.
Guest Speaker: Indlovukazi Sekhothali Mabhena of the Amandebele Kingdom.
“Perspective is when you have the big picture, you weather the storm en route towards discovering the best in you. You come to understand those good things that take time; life is not about instant gratification.
Persistence: Never giving up, and following up with dogged determination, the path to discovering the best in you comes from persistence.
Resolve: the mindset of determination is key, not allowing destruction to take you out of the path you carved for discovering the best in you
Resilience: This is about bouncing and using setbacks as stepping stones. To stand up after falling
Authenticity: Being our true selves all the time and not being fake. Having understood the foregoing, we can proceed to look at discovering the best in us.”
Keynote speaker, Her Majesty Queen (Indlovukazi) Sekhothali Seeiso Mabhena observed a moment of silence for women and children who have been robbed of their lives due to gender-based violence.
In her talk, Queen Mabhena made the women in the room aware of the many roles she partakes in changing the lives of women and children of the country.
Poetry reading by Ms Vanessa Redemeyer.
“I serve as a member of the United Nation’s Women in ending child marriages and female genital mutilation. I am a member of the African Union in retaining education in women and girls across the continent, and a menstrual hygiene ambassador with the HIV/AIDS Foundation South Africa.
Queen Mabhena continued that she is also an Advocate against GBV and Femicide with the Kwanele Foundation and serves as the youngest queens within the council of traditional leaders in Africa.
“I am amongst a lot of men who are feared across the board, and I think I am doing a very good job at representing women in that regard,” she said, adding that all her duties, come with responsibility, internal strength, resilience, maturity and proactiveness.
“The bible tells us a woman is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Without a doubt God gives women the strength, we become responsible to use the gift right and accountable,” she continued.
“A strong-willed woman isn’t afraid to meet the world head-on, she is unafraid of those who say something cannot be done and her God-given passion produces clear purpose, deep compassion, and a bold spirit that has the power to change the world.
But even a strong-willed woman runs into issues along the journey, sometimes determination and a strong will lead to misunderstanding and breakdowns, and the only one who can help her overcome them is God.”
Women at both events shared words of encouragement, enjoyed entertainment, which ranged from traditional dance, music and poetry reading. The celebrations ended with a prize giving.
@ Story Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.