Dignity of women

The Nelson Mandela Foundation together with Graça Machel Trust and Kuhluka Movement held a celebratory event titled ‘Is’thunzi Sabafazi’ (Dignity of Women) to mark the centenary of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s birth.

At the same time, in honour of his legacy, the event was to promote the work various organisations are doing to combat patriarchy as well as to link in with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign.

The keynote speech was given by philanthropist, humanitarian and close friend of Tata Nelson Mandela, Miss Oprah Winfrey.

A discussion was led by a panel of prestigious and well respected women. Panellists included Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the United Nations under Secretary and Executive Director of UN Women, Josina Machel, daughter of Graça and Samora Machel and founder of Kuhluka Movement and Graça Machel, founder of Graça Machel Trust, international advocacy for women and children’s rights and wife of the late President Nelson Mandela. Redi Tlhabi, renowned journalist, producer, author and a radio presenter was the programme director and led the discussions.

Josina shared her story about her abuse by her partner, which resulted in her losing sight in one eye and how she dealt with her ordeal by starting the Kuhluka Movement, which helps abused women and children across Southern Africa. She also spoke about how her family supported her during this difficult time, especially her mother Graça Machel, who was also part of the discussion.

“Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression’ – Nelson Mandela, who also believed that a nation should protect its children. 

Abuse of women and children in Southern Africa and throughout the world as a whole is growing problem. Current statistics in this country confirm that one in every four women is physically abused by her intimate partner and that every six hours, a woman is killed by her current or former partner.

Therefore, the Is’thunzi Sabafazi was organised as a symbol that signifies the idea of gender equality and fight against women and children. Which is fight that should be fought by every citizen of the world, not just the victims of abuse.

We can stand against women and children abuse together as a World. It takes each one of us, Men and Women to fight this. The beauty of standing together is that we win together.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity” – Nelson Mandela.

By Steven Mashaba

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