Khayelitsha libraries empower women

Assistant librarian at Khulani library, Sisanda Matsilana, shows Sabelo Mekuto on how to use a computer.

Khayelitsha libraries have embarked on an initiative to empower township women with computer skills in an effort to boost their chances of employment.

Ten women from different areas attended an intensive three-day training workshop at Khayelitsha library last week where they were taught basic computer literacy.The library hopes to continue training people on a monthly basis.

City of Cape Town area head of library and information services, Jacqueline Kwezi, said the programme had a digital literacy theme and was specifically tailored to empower women.

Ms Kwezi said a recent study conducted by the City shows that women, especially those aged to 18 to 35, were not often using the computers in libraries.

She said the study shows men were the ones who used computers more often than women. This, she said, was worrying and the reason why they started this programme.

She said it was important that women were empowered with crucial and relevant skills. She said these days computer literacy was one of the main requirements for employment.

Ms Kwezi said this programme was a joint initiative by the six libraries in Khayelitsha, although each library has its own programme.

She said the introduction of such programmes were vital as they afforded women an opportunity to learn more about computers and at least have an idea of how it works. She said gone were the days when people battled to get access to computers. She said the programme has yielded the desired results and hopes it will grow.

“We are empowering women. We want women to be familiar with computers. We are shaping the mindset of women. Women must be put first. We are paving a way for women. We want them to be able to use computers with confidence,” she said.
She called on women to grab such opportunities with both hands.

She said women should empower themselves and not wait for other people to help them.

Anela Boqwana said she felt lucky to be part of the programme. The 23-year-old Makhaza resident said she even though she was familiar with computers and was able to use them, she joined the programme to enhance her knowledge and skills.

She said one should not stop learning and as young people it was crucial that they empower themselves each and every day.

She said this programme has opened her eyes and made her realise that there is a lot that she still needs to learn.

“I have gained more skills and knowledge. In life you learn everyday. I urge young women to never stop equipping themselves,” she said.

Ward Councillor Anele Gabuza applauded the women for taking the bold decision to be part of this programme. He said the unemployment rate was high and that requires young people to keep on up-skilling themselves to meet the ever changing job requirements.

He urged the youth to stay away from criminal activities and to be role models in their communities.

Sabelo Mekuto said he knew that the programme was designated for young women but he felt that he needed to up-skill himself.

He said it was crucial that they empower themselves with every opportunity that comes their way to be multi skilled. He said the time to fold arms and do thing was over.