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Women's Day celebration in Tuba village, in Kwelerha

Written by Anelitha Tukela


In South Africa on the 9th of August, it's National Women’s Day, the public holiday commemorates a historic protest of unjust laws under the then-apartheid regime. According to the South African government, Women's Day marks the anniversary of the great women's march of 1956, where women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the carrying of pass books. On 9 August 1956, about 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas. This day also serves as a reminder to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of women in various fields. It's an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the challenges that remain in achieving gender equality. However, women in Tuba village gathered on Women's Day to celebrate themselves, give support to each other, and pray together. Women in Tuba village, Kwelerha, celebrated their Women’s Day at God's Glory House of Ministries.

Plate 1: Women of Kwelerha dancing and celebrating Women’s Day at the God’s Glory House of Ministries. (Photographed by Anelitha Tukela)


God’s Glory House of Ministries hosted a women’s conference on Women’s Day to create a space where women could come together. God’s Glory House of Ministries is a global ministry dedicated to the winning of souls to Christ and supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. This ministry is created to challenge and build men and women, youth and children, mentor students, group leaders, and concerned Christians. Their activities also include organising and providing religious instructions, and performing missionary work. The purpose of the conference was to empower women through prayer, give women a platform to express themselves and give support and strength to each other. The theme of the day was “power of a crying woman” which means that the cry of women is very powerful in the ears of the Lord and that crying to the Lord on Women's Day would be very powerful; they wanted God to remember them and hear their prayers as this day is dedicated to women. However, men came to the conference to offer their services to the women of the church. They helped in the kitchen, helped with technical staff and hard labour that was needed on the day, and were invited to participate if they wanted to support women with prayer.


The pastor’s wife was the one who was organising the women’s conference. She stated that the community has a problem with drugs and alcohol, and she knows that on public holidays the youth usually take that time to gather and drink alcohol. She wanted to create a different space for young women in the community this year; she hoped to remove them from taverns and bring them to the church where they will gain wisdom and encouragement. She also stated that she wanted the conference to be a platform where women bring their problems, give advice to each other and empower each other. She said that this was the first women's conference, although they usually dedicate Thursdays as a day where women come together and pray and support each other through the word of God. Attendance on Women’s Day was great, and there were more young women than older women. Young women stated that they don't usually attend such events, and they were grateful that they did.


One woman who attended the conference stated that these women's prayer sessions were so helpful because they gave women time to bond with each other, pray, and talk about their issues. She says that it was important for them to gather on Women's Day because women carry a lot of problems. She said that all the problems that are faced in the household are usually solved by women, and having a time and place where they can gather as women to share all those issues and challenges was significant for them. Women were given a chance to give testimony about how God has changed their lives and how they want God to help them with the challenges and problems they were facing. There was a lot of dancing and singing in between the programme to make sure that everyone is having fun. They did not want to make the conference a very formal conference. However, all the problems and challenges that were raised in the conference were prayed for. For instance, they prayed for relief from the drugs and alcohol that are killing the youth of Tuba, prayed for love and support between women, prayed for the protection of their children, and prayed for an end to violence and crime in the community.


Another woman stated that she gets her strength and support from the church, and having a conference dedicated to women lifts her spirit and faith. She states that church is her coping mechanism for all the challenges she is facing in her household. She said that she finds healing at church and having a conference that was dedicated to women on Women's Day was good for her mental health and well-being. She states that there is no happiness in her household because her son is taking drugs and whenever he is high he causes trouble around the house. She said she tried involving the police and opened a protection order but that does not stop him from causing trouble around the house. But she says that whenever she goes to church, she always has hope that things will be okay and that her son will be fine one day. She knows that God will hear her and answer her prayers. However, she states that she wishes such events could be done every month so that they can be able to save their daughters from the drugs and alcohol that have dominated the community.


Therefore, modern-day Women's Day is celebrated by drawing attention to many of the important issues that women in South Africa still face. These issues include gender-based violence, discrimination, unequal pay, harassment at the workplace, access to healthcare, and fair access to education. Women from Kwelerha celebrated this day by coming together to pray about their challenges and issues, give each other support, and have fun. People don’t usually celebrate historical holidays anymore. Instead, on public holidays they gather to drink alcohol or just stay at home and enjoy not going to work. It was great seeing a different celebration that encourages and empowers women, especially in rural areas.

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1 Comment


Guest
Oct 23, 2023

This is an excellent read Anelitha! I've always been interested in women's support systems, particularly in religious settings such as in church and how women engage with personal, social, economic and even political issues within the space. OoMama boManyano is a particular space I have always been interested in. This article is a lovely article to understand how women engage with support and agency amid social challenges. Thank you!

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