In spite of the huge strides the country has made in women’s empowerment, crimes against women and children remain a major problem.
Scores of women from different denominations marched through the streets of Khayelitsha on Women’s Day, Tuesday August 9, calling for an end to crime and other social ills.
Carrying placards, the women who later gathered at the OR Tambo Hall, said many struggles were yet to be won.
They said increasing levels of violence against women and children can no longer be tolerated. Clad in their church colours, they said women are still marginalised.
They said the abuse of women, especially elderly women, child abuse, gangsterism, alcohol and substance abuse, human trafficking, rape, robbery, car hijacking, unemployment, health issues and lack of ubuntu are rife in their areas.
The march was organised by the Women’s Manyano of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, False Bay Circuit.
The women gathered at the hall to pray for an end to all social ills and to spiritually uplift each other.
Taking turns to pray for, the women also made a call to themselves to take firm action against their children’s (negative) behaviour.
The women said another aim of the gathering was to empower women.
Nanziwe Maseti, the Women’s Manyano president of the False Bay Circuit, said with prayer all was possible.
“There is nothing special that brought us here today. We are here to pray and pray more until something happens.
“As women, we make things possible. Together we can defeat the problems that we are facing,” she said.
Event organiser Nelisa Majola said they had decided to face God with one voice. She lamented the lack of women empowerment in many areas.
However, she appealed to women to stop relying so much on others but to do things for themselves.
“We want to build unity in Khayelitsha and other areas. As women in churches we tend to be too individual. We do the same programmes and we end up duplicating. But united we’ll be able to push a lot of things and succeed. Today’s message is that we have had enough of rape, killings, abuse, human trafficking and many other ills,” she said.
Anglican church member Neliswa Mdani said the fight against crime was not possible without the involvement of men.
She said there is no freedom if women are not free.
“We commemorate the day with a prayer. It should be known that our struggle is different than that of 1956. This means we need to move on with the times.
“There are challenges. We have the problem of our own children. They rape us, kill us, do all sorts of things to us, their parents. We need to ask ourselves what went wrong and how can we fix that. The solution is there.
“All we need to say is enough is enough,” she said.
She said women were still not free because they were victims of rape and killings. She called on men to stop the wrongs against women.
“This democracy will only be real when women are free from rape and murder by men. Men have to ask themselves why are they doing what they’re doing to women.
“But we will keep on praying until they stop killing and raping us. Until our children come to their senses,” she said.
Churches that attended the event included St Johns, Presbyterian Church Of SA, the Anglican Church and the United Methodist Church, among others.