Women of all colours and backgrounds have been challenged to respect traditional values, morals and be an inspiration to young women and men to ensure that their families become model examples.
This emerged at a meeting of the Buyel’embo group at the Khayelitsha Training Centre.
Buyel’embo is a group of women who met through Facebook and decided to form a platform that discusses common issues and interests. It is also a platform for women to share their experiences.
The group met for the first time on Saturday June 3, a year after it was formed. Wearing red and black, the women expressed happiness to see each other for the first time after befriending online a year ago.
During the meeting and celebration of the anniversary, the women discussed issues which are causing family divisions and how makotis (newly-weds), and widows should remain committed to their values by refraining from engaging in immoral practices.
The founder of Buyel’embo, Nombasa Gu, urged women to respect cultural norms and the customs of their new families.
“If you are a Xhosa married to a Sotho or Nigerian, you must practise what is happening there. You cannot marry a Nigerian and refuse to do what the Nigerians are doing. If you marry a certain group, you should be prepared to practise what they do. There is no excuse of not doing what they are doing,” she told them.
Explaining why they decided to form the Facebook group, Ms Gu said they realised women have issues that affect them and needed to be solved. She said she was happy that after a year of only liaising through Facebook, they have finally met.
“There were cries of dismantling marriages, disrespectful makotis and many other issues. We had to form this platform and talk about ourselves and our experiences as women. We want to strengthen marriages, to be an inspiration to our young girls and want unmarried men to see a good example in us so that they will be inspired and long to marry,” she told Vukani.
She called on newly-weds in particular to display behaviour in a manner that is accepted.
Ms Gu said the group is open to people who want to develop each other.
“We do not care how wealthy you are or how poor you are. This is a platform where we must work together as one. People need to toe the line or leave us with this. We need women with respect, who value their families, who will respect the culture and customs of their new families. We want to empower ourselves and our girls,” she said.
One of the women leaders Almanye Notyhanga said attending the first meeting was an eye-opener to many of them.
She said she was happy that senior women were at hand to teach and share their experiences.
“I would say these seniors have saved many marriages through Facebook. Some of the issues we had we attacked there and then. They were true to us. I can say many marriages were neglected and abandoned until we formed this platform. We had women testifying that things are not the same since joining the group.
“Many know now how to respect their husbands to maintain their relationship and families,” she said.
A young woman who attended the event and who recited a poem, Lesego Mkize, said that attending the meeting cleared up a lot of confusion for her. She said it was rare to see women speaking out like they did.
“I am grateful to have been among them.
“This is a great initiative that will have a positive impact on young girls if marketed well. I hope it spreads everywhere so to educate young girls,” she said.
The group is planning on talking to the departments of art and culture and social development to have discussions with girls and cultural groups.