I walked with the most inspiring young woman yesterday who in the space of twenty minutes blew me away with her story. I know 'inspiring' is an overworked word, but the fact that she was smiling with an inner peace after all she has been through in her short twenty three years, I found amazing and humbling as well as inspiring. A story of resistance. She was one of just over 200 young women from The Chrysalis Academy who walked along the promenade from Mouille Point to Sea Point to raise their voices against gender based violence. They sang, they held hands, they carried their banners high, stuck message flags in their hair - and they made a powerful statement that undoubtedly impacted all the dogwalkers, runners, pushchairs and leisure crowd out for a Saturday morning stroll.
They were led by two other inspiring women - Lucille Meyer, CEO of The Chrysalis Academy and Marlene le Roux, CEO of Artscape - and in conjunction with WoW - Western Cape on Wellness, they were fighting fit and ready to get the word out there.
As much as the walk itself and the motivation behind it, what also impressed me was hearing about the course the girls (or women rather aged 18 to 25) are undergoing at the Academy. From 'vulnerable' communities all over the Western Cape, from Oudtshoorn to Stellenbosch, to the Cape Flats and townships, they have been recruited to do an intense three month personal training programme that takes them through orientation and self-esteem building, a range of skills - firefighting, welding, cookery, youth development and environmental awareness, leadership and the value of volunteering. Bonding and interpersonal skills are clearly integral.
At the end of the walk, time to gather together for a quick pic to mark the occasion - joined by the feisty Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies who know all about the value of putting one foo in front of the other. So thanks for the walk and huge congratulations to all the team and young women at The Chrysalis Academy. And especially love to my young friend and fellow walker who has found perhaps more than she hoped for during this course. I wish her well - and look forward to seeing her on the journey.
And here are just some of the thoughts shared:
FAITH is inseparable from community.....is an evolving situation....is my connection to other people......a belief that there is something good. RELIGION is a man-made system, an issue of interpretation of texts...if God is male then male is God....it's time to rewrite texts FEMINISM is calling back the pieces of our souls that have been scattered.....is focusing on people who have been oppressed.....between Faith and Feminism there is suspicion on both sides.....like black people, as women we have not recorded our stories. And on GENDER BASED VIOLENCE...we need .to retell our stories...faith institutions need to hand the mic to those who don't usually get to speak. 16 Days of Activism needs to be 365 Days.
We are prisoners of the thinking of the times. We need new stories.
Much more was said, much more is to be said. But for now a big thank you to the panel for their informed wisdom and to all who came to listen, for their thoughts and questions. Till next time. October 26 2019 WOMAN ZONE
Images: Theresa Smith Words: Nancy Richards
But what is Sisters? And who do they care for? Simply put, 'Sisters' is a beacon of hope in a community ravaged by domestic violence and abuse. They provide care, lodging, counseling and skills to those who need it most - which includes every woman, teenager and child in crisis and in need of healing physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Sisters Incorporated was born back in 1959 when a group of women, each of whom cared very deeply about the plight of other women in trouble, got together to see how they could make a difference. Six decades later they continue to make a difference - helping many hundreds, if not thousands of women survive and thrive. But their own journey is one of survival too - due largely to the teams of caring, dedicated women that have and continue to make it happen.
As the current Manager of 'Sisters' at the old, but warm and welcoming house in Kenilworth, Delene Roberts has been described as a diamond. And the many facets she displays on a daily basis certainly makes her reputation glitter. While she has her own brand of leadership, she stands on the shoulders of a number of strong and caring managers before her - many of whom you can read about in the book.
You can read much, much more about the story of Sisters Incorporated in the book 'Survivors'. To find out how to get a copy, how to support or volunteer, check their website www.sisters.org.za, email them on email@example.com or call 021 797 4190.
Photographs: Theresa Smith Event co-ordination: Beryl Eichenberger both of Woman Zone
It was a crisp, winter morning in August and Woman Zone was proud to be invited to come and share their story with sistahs at Clickatell. Clickawho? we wondered. Well turns out this lively outfit is a B2B mobile technology company that enables startups, small-to-medium businesses and enterprises to better manage their 'chat'. Peter de Villiers opened proceedings with stories of the women in his life......and then.....
Finally there was an opportunity for some sweet talk with specially made motto cookies for everyone. All in all we had a great morning sharing and investing in all the Clickatell values: Curious, Collaborative, Champion, Courageous and enormously Creative. Thank you ClLICKATELL, with love from WOMAN ZONE!
I was 'launched' so to speak, at Artscape's annual Women's Humanity Arts Festival. My new family at Woman Zone had been given many metres of shweshwe fabric by Da Gama Textiles to decorate the truck that would be leading their Women's Humanity Walk - they had quite a bit left over, so they were able to give me a shawl and a doek.....
And just in case you dont know my story as Krotoa.....here it is, in an extract from a book called 'Like Family' by Ena Jansen. This certainly wont be my last incarnation as one of the many women of Cape Town, so if you have any ideas on who else I could be, or you would like to help with future outfits, do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org. Much love, WIRE WOMAN xx
Take two women who've not only plunged the depths of addiction, but written the book and come out the other side in tact - and you have a recipe for some serious wisdom. SARA-JAYNE KING (left) author of Killing Karoline and MELINDA FERGUSON author of Smacked, of Hooked and of Crashed shared some explosive anecdotes and some incisive insight at a Story Cafe last weekend. Just a few memorable quotes: 'Addicts feel very at home with failure.' 'If I'd written a book in active addiction it would have been bullshit.' 'Catharsis is overrated.' 'Once I'd put my darkness into the light - the light spread.' 'The shit doesn't go away just because you've written a book.' 'Use your privilege - go to a clinic.'