Women’s Day Celebration- Empower women and end poverty
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted a Women’s Day Celebration on the 7th August 2015 at the Austerville Community Hall. The hall was filled with beautiful women. This day and celebration was especially important because, women are the backbone of SDCEA activities by consistently mobilising on the ground, gathering information, taking information back to the community and turning up en masse for events. It is essential that women receive support to strengthen their knowledge and skills in organising to effect change and overcome the many intertwined challenges related to living in an unhealthy environment with few resources and a predominantly patriarchal culture. The SDCEA staff, three community activist and lot of entertainment awaited these remarkable women.
Noluthando Mbeje (SDCEA Environmental Projects Officer – Communications, health and energy) started off by praising our beautiful women. Expressed how she feels and thinks of our women who are extraordinary beautiful creation of God, they are anchors of our families’ and society. They are our pillar of strength; they do so much on a daily basis for each and every one of us. After all, we all would be here if it wasn’t for woman. She also touched on the environment with particular emphasis on health in our communities also known as the ‘Cancer Valley’. The proposed Nuclear Power Plant in the old Airport, what does it this mean for the people of south Durban, the food-chain, subsistence fisherfolks that fish on the cuttings beach, affordability and the possibilities of a disaster happening with all these oil refineries, paper mill and cluster of factories. According to Miss Mbeje “We would all be history in a matter of minutes”. She ended off by bowing her head to all the beautiful women in the hall for being the unshakeable foundation, for being strong, for keeping things together even when it seemed they are falling apart.
Priya Pillay (Environmental Projects Officer – Infrastructure and development) “Today I’m tasked with speaking on women and their role in society and community. It gives me great pleasure to stand in front of such exceptional women in this hall and it inspires me every day to be half the women that many of you are” conveyed by Miss Pillay. Women face hardships all through their life but don’t realize how influential they are in shaping the youth and people of tomorrow. They set examples of being strong, powerful and beautiful, courage determination and perseverance and it is crucial that we value women. Miss Pillay started working at SDCEA at a very young age and this community has taught her a lot which she is very grateful for. She works on a number of issues but most pressing at this moment is the Clairwood racecourse and port developments that will change our lives and we as women need to take a stand and become more vocal about what the community and kids need more than making a profit for a rich few. It is vital that women play an active role in making a difference because they are capable of anything. In conclusion, not that I’m a feminist but I would like to leave the women of today with a little encouragement…” Always remember, anything a man can do, women can do better…IN HEELS”.
The three community activist gave brief motivational and empowering words. Mrs. Catherine Gordeen spoke about women who suffer different forms of abuse, fallen heroes and the need for women to support each other. Miss Mbali started off with a song, expressed her gratitude to be amongst such phenomenal women and shared the struggles women face in her community (Umlazi). Lastly, Mrs. L. Perumal, men and women are equal and should complement each other. Woman’s role in the family is very important because she is able to hold the family together, whereas if there is no woman the house goes astray. She closed off by saying “Our role as mothers, sisters and daughters doesn’t stop when we leave our homes because we can be mothers, sisters and daughters to people out in the world”.
Entertainment from the Tafta Revellers, performed four numbers (including belly dance and Zulu dance). The women all had an opportunity to motivate and encourage each other.