With National Women’s Day celebrated in South Africa in August every year, on 30 August 2017, the University of Venda (Univen) joined the masses of the country in commemorating the 20 000 women, who marched against pass laws in 1956. Since 1994, South Africa has celebrated the day, to honour the power of the women who stood against unjust laws under the Apartheid regime. Women from Univen, and other invited guests, from different organisations, came in their numbers.

Dr Elelwani Ramaite-Mafadza in her welcome address said, “as women we have come to commemorate the women who marched against the dompas, and other oppressive apartheid laws. The dompas is no longer the issue, but we as women live in an extremely violent and drug-infested democratic South Africa, hence we experience even more challenges, such as gendered violence, of different forms, which include femicide, rape of women and children, and poverty. It is against this background that we have to learn how to intensify the fight against gendered violence, as well as to ensure that we curb poverty”.

Adv. Khathutshelo Elias Nemudzivhadi’s focus was on women in the workplace. He commended women for being women and not men, for being strong pillars of society, and for being industrious. He said that women are hard workers, and they save huge amounts of money through stokvels, and other means, and should research more on sustainable ways of investing money. He advised women to work even harder in the workplace to ensure that there is service delivery.

Health was regarded as an important issue, that women have to consider with the seriousness it deserves. Ms Doris Ngambi, from the Vhembe District’s Department of Health, advised women about Cervical cancer, which today has become a killer, that is more dangerous than HIV/Aids. She warned that many women are dying because of ignorance. Ms Ngambi highlighted the causes of cervical cancer, and that it targets women from 30 years and above. She advised women to go for pap smear before it is too late. Ms Ngambi told the audience that women are dying from cervical cancer, although it is one of the preventable cancers, among all types of cancer.

“Be a woman who is accountable and beautiful, and have confidence”. This was said by Suzan Ravuku, who is well known as “Fheli” in the Muvhango Tshivenda soapie on SABC 2 channel. Suzan talked about women empowerment, Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and the female condom or femidom. She advised women to support each other, be it at the workplace, churches and in communities. She further advised women to use condoms, particularly the female condom, before engaging in any sexual activities. Ms Ravuku encouraged women to go for HIV/AIDS testing more often. Ravuku’s talk aimed at inspiring women to take action, and making everyone an agent of change.

Depending on where in the world you are, getting married will mean different things for most of the women, their career and future business opportunities. Women who attended the event organised by the Human Recourses Department’s Health and Wellness Section, benefited a great deal in terms of knowledge of the law and their future. During the event, Adv. Cathrine Muthivhithivhi from the Legal Aid South Africa addressed the audience on the topic ‘The Law and your future’, which greatly enlightened the women present. She highlighted the types of marriage contracts, their advantages and disadvantages. She advised women to be sober when signing marriage contracts. “Make sure that you understand what you are getting yourself into, because at the end of the day you are committing yourself”. Adv Muthivhithivhi further said “to protect yourself make sure that your Customary marriage is registered”. She discouraged women from engaging in the ‘vat en sit’ kind of marriage.

Ms Mashudu Nefale, a Clinical Psychologist, spoke about a healthy mind. “We hardly test the status of our mental health”, said Ms Nefale. She highlighted forms of abuse that affect women and their health. She added that “Emotional abuse is the most powerful form of abuse affecting South African Women today”. She advised women to balance work and family responsibilities. “At times women tend to forget to take care of themselves because of the many responsibilities they have. “Embrace being a woman,” she concluded.

National Women’s Day aims to address issues within the country that affects women, such as domestic violence, parenting, harassment in the workplace, unequal pay and unequal schooling for girls. The well-organised event also focused on how women are empowered in the country, as well as in the areas where women are not adequately supported.

L-R: Ms Doris Magau and Ms Malehu Maluleke

Issued by:
Department of Communications and Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: 015 962 8525
Date: 05 September 2017

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