Young women encouraged to be independent

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pretoria - Well known South African gospel artist, Rebecca Malope, has encouraged young women to get educated and become independent to avoid being abused by men for financial support.

"Your body isn't worth R50 or cell phone. Go to school and get an education so that tomorrow, you can be your own boss," Malope told young women who packed the Union Buildings lawns to celebrate Women's Day.

She noted that most women were not afraid of robberies in their homes but the men they stay with, who on Fridays come home drunk and commit heinous acts of abuse against the women and their children. Malope urged women to walk away and not to tolerate the abuse.

"Don't stay there because of the double storey. Go ... and be safe with your children," said Malope, who took the audience down memory lane with some of her songs from the 90s.

Malope, along with other artists and members of political parties, including Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, joined thousands of Gauteng citizens who converged at the Union Buildings to honour 20 000 South African women, who, 55 years ago, marched to the seat of government against racial segregation and discriminatory pass laws.

Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the history of Women's Day was the history of struggle not only for the emancipation of women, but for the liberation of humanity as a whole.

He said the Freedom Charter contained a number of important provisions that spelt out the vision of the kind of society the women of South Africa were yearning for, including a level of civilisation which can be measured by the degree of freedom its members enjoy.

"Men cannot hope to liberate themselves from the evils of discrimination and prejudice as long as they fail to extend to women complete and unqualified equality in law and in practice," Ramokgopa said.

While saluting the women who led the march to the Union Buildings in 1956, Ramokgopa also paid homage to other unknown women who toiled behind the scenes to advance the struggle of democracy and justice in South Africa.

Giving a message of support, Democratic Alliance representative Patricia Mokgotlhwa noted that the march didn't take place in isolation, but asserted the right for women to be respected and have access to opportunities and services, and be treated as equal in the eyes of the law.

"We owe it to them but as much as we do, we dare not forget what needs to be done. The daily reality for women is the life of poverty. We must give young women quality education to allow them to be entrepreneurs and help to tackle this problem," Mokgotlhwa said.