Interactive inter-generational discussion for women, featuring the former first lady Gugu Motlanthe, was held at St Augustine College.
Mentoring and Empowering Programme for Young Women (Memprow) recently invited their chairperson, Gugu Motlanthe, students and staff of St Augustine College and young school girls from Johannesburg to their intergenerational dialogue event.
The special guest speaker on the day was Catholic feminist theologian Dr Nonthando Habede.
The talk focused on creating a platform for young women to assert themselves in their lives, which coincided perfectly with Women’s Month.
Gugu Motlanthe, former first lady of South Africa, opened up the proceedings.
She spoke on a variety of women issues including gender-based violence, education, support structures and others.
She paid specific attention to gender-based violence and stated to the young girls, “I have observed the psychological, physical, sexual and emotional explosions that live on in the blood of its victims. I’ve seen the constant self-doubt, I’ve witnessed the words of past lovers linger like smog in a room.”
She went on to remind all the women in attendance that they need to stand together, online and in person, to make a difference.
Guest speaker Dr Nonthando Habede touched on the roles religion, culture and the law have on the experiences faced by women.
In her work leading up to her doctorate in theology, she challenged many of these problematic notions that have resulted in the abuse of women globally. Dr Habede asked the girls where this gender inequality come from.
She said, “We have heard about intimate partner violence but we need to be able to track where it starts in our society. It’s not enough for us to look at individual men and perpetrators, we need to look at the way society is structured because that’s where the problem begins.”
The event also featured poem readings such as Hell in a handbag by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Be a real man by Priyum Bajaj and lots of singing and dancing. Memprow is a non-profit organisation that focuses on cultivating leadership skills and qualities in young girls.
Treasurer of Memprow, Professor Terry Sacco said such events and organisations are the key to ensuring that young women assert themselves at all times.
It will encourage them to speak up and out on topics that affect them, she added. She was pleased with the outcome of the event and hopes to host many more in the future.