By JENNA KRETZMANN
Amazwi Literature Museum hosted an inspiring and informative Women’s Day conference on Wednesday, 10 August, attended by young and old.
What started years before by the Mother’s Committee of Graeme College has grown into a more significant, three-hour-long event organised by myriad Makhanda women. The coordinators include Serelda Caiger, active Rotarian and founder of Makhanda Matric Wardrobe, an initiative to assist matric pupils with matric dance dresses, shoes, make-up, and photographers. Amongst others were the owner and founder of Ladies 1st Driving School, Annemarie Herselman, and all-around humanitarian Limise Gagayi.
Tag-lined with ‘Let the women’s voices be heard’, the programme was jam-packed. Guest speakers were invited to cover topics ranging from self-defence training by Rhodes University, Hi-Tec’s to do’s of pepper spray, discussions around self-love, dangers of dieting, tips on starting a business and belly dancing at halftime, performed by Gigi’s Belly Dance Studio. “Our objective was to teach women valuable life skills and give them the confidence to use them”, stated Caiger.
Following the event, a panel discussion was facilitated, which Caiger said was incredibly beneficial to both the organisers and women in attendance. Issues raised in this discussion are being followed through by the SAPS and the Rhodes University Community Engagement department to see where assistance and resources can be found.
However, the work does not stop here. Caiger is currently organising workshops to further empower young women through the acquisition of skills – how to start a successful braai fire, golfing, squash, changing a flat tyre, and battery and financial training are just a few of the ideas on the table.
“We teach women soft and hard skills to grow up to be empowered and know that they are destined for more,” Caiger said. Interestingly, these workshops will not be closed off to young men. Instead, anyone interested may take part in fostering healthy relations between men and women from a young age.
The presence of dedicated civilians who push against an ever-growing tide of misogyny, sexism, and gender-based violence, is admirable. Although initiatives of this sort often feel like a drop in the ocean, every life-giving rain shower is composed of individual drops.