Girls encouraged to raise voices

Dimpho Sobhoyisi wants to see vociferous girl children.

Girls who raise their voices, who believe in themselves, are confident and independent and say what they feel are more likely to grow up to be active citizens.

This is the view of Dimpho Sobhoyisi from Nyanga who, on Saturday November 7, hosted the inaugural Girls Talk Show at Mkhanyiseli Primary School in Nyanga.

The initiative seeks to empower young girls from as young as 8-years-old to speak out about their problems and recognise inappropriate behaviour of adults.

The event attracted about 30 primary school girls from around Nyanga.

Ms Sobhoyisi, 23, a first-year performing arts student at NorthLink College, said she was concerned about the way parents spoke to their children.

“Telling them that a spade is a working tool does not help them at all. We ought to call a spade a spade and stop beating about the bush,” she said.

“Parents need to be frank to their children. That is why I called the young girls today.”

She added that she was a bit disappointed that parents had not attended even though she had invited them.

Her dream is to see girls with strong views and opinions.

“They have to know how to express themselves, be confident

and independent. Confidence speaks louder than anything. Teach them to be brave so they can achieve their potential dreams.

“Tell them there are condoms. It is good for parents to sit children down,” she said.

And while there was a real need to teach boys about issues such as gender bias and gender-based violence, said Ms Sobhoyisi, her focus right now was on the girls.

“I am not good at boys’ issues but I think they also need help. There is a lot that is lacking in our communities. That is why we see such violence. I would love to see those who have good expertise on boys, talking to them, teaching them. Maybe we might not see the violence we are currently experiencing,” she said.

Sinethemba Jaca of Ikamva Youth, which was also represented at the event, advised young girls to take education seriously.

He said his organisation supported pupils but from Grade 8 to 12 to cover what teachers could not cover.

“But we are here to support the sister in her initiative today. This is a great initiative that young girls should take with both hands. But as Ikamva, we say to them, they can change a lot of negatives to positives. But they can only do that through education,” he said.

Lilitha August, a Grade 6 pupil at Mkhanyiseli Primary, said she was grateful to be among the girls who had been part of the event and that she was keen to learn how one could approach one’s parents when faced with challenges.