Respect your body. Be an independent and ambitious girl.
These were some of the key messages that young girls from two Gugulethu high schools were armed with when the Abiona Africa company and the Department of Education held a girls empowerment event. Young girls from Fezeka and ID Mkhize high schools converged at Intshukumo Comprehensive High School in Gugulethu on Friday August 23.
The girls were told that they should strive to be self-reliant and focus on their studies.
Company founder, Thandokazi Maguga, said as a young person she felt compelled to empower her peers and mould them.
The 26-year-old told Vukani that they educated girls about various issues affecting them, including abuse.
She said she wanted girls not to underestimate and doubt their value, abilities and self worth.
She said their core aim of existence was to ensure that girls overcame any societal barriers and boundaries that made it difficult to succeed in life.
While in the past girls had not been encouraged-and sometimes even not allowed-to further their education, things were different now and girls should grab the opportunities presented to them.
But, she said, she had noted that girls had a tendency to pull each other down instead of helping each other to achieve success.
Ms Maguga said she seeks to stimulate confidence in girls so that they can pursue their dreams and aspirations without fear. She said she started the company purely because she wanted to make a difference and contribute to the upliftment of girls.
“I was once a victim of abuse and I cautioned them about it. I’m sharing my life experience so that these girls can aspire to be something in life. I want to change the girls’ attitude and teach them that nothing is impossible in life.
“Young girls need to be shown that they are valued and appreciated,” she said.
Grade 10 pupil, Siziwe Rwaxa said she now had a clear vision of what she wanted to be in life and another pupil, Siphelele Phindani, shared the same sentiment, adding that the programme had made her love herself more.