Metro South Education District and our Women's Day 2013 celebrations

The pitch of our Women’s Day celebrations at our district was perfect. The setting was glamorous, the mood was jovial and the speakers were brilliant.

Walton, Mike, Myrtle and others enjoying the fun
Are we heeding the clarion call to eradicate violence as a key barrier?
We had three speakers. Valdi van Reenen-Le Roux, Director of Trauma Centre, was our keynote speaker. The other two presenters were learners: Michael from Strandfontein High school and Lauren from Wynberg Girls’ High school. The speakers had a mission: they were there to raise our awareness of the violence against women and against our children, especially against the girl child. More importantly, these speakers were there to question whether we are enabling or disengaged change agents.

Have we taken up the baton from the 20,000 South African women who on 9 August, 1956 had made sacrifices against all odds? How are we using our human agency to fight the violence against women and children? Why is  there silence around issues of structural violence in our schools, in our society? These were a few of the sharp questions Valdi directed at us. A few of us squirmed, others looked frozen and there were a few nodding heads. There was no hiding place; we had to confront these realities and we were being asked if we are taking our role as change agents seriously.

Lauren, the Head Girl at Wynberg High school, said that access to education will ensure that we will have a large pool of critical thinkers to help address issues of injustices against women and children globally. This young adult challenged us with her closing question: Are we using education to realize this goal?

Glen in conversation with Edith. In front, Helen looks on.

Glen, our District Director and a few of our officials
 The power of courageous conversations

There was no apology for the rawness of the conversations. In fact, had we raised our objections to such rich, enabling talks, we are in serious trouble. If we cannot operate in the domain where our ability to question our own belief systems and our actions, we are our own barrier to learning how to shape our society.

We need to disrupt our thinking patterns. Our assumptions that shape our actions may be strengthening the very injustices against women and children without our realizing this. We must read, talk and engage with others to broaden our knowledge and our understanding of how we are constructing our societies and our schools. When we creatively, thoughtfully and cooperatively wade through the complexities of social issues, we will release our human agency. We will realise that we have the power to change our own world.

 And, such dialogues are not the preserves of meetings only. These dialogues should be commonplace whenever we gather at work, at home and at recreational places .
Lucinda, one of our social workers, is such an energiser!

Thumbs up to the organisers
This is the reason I thoroughly enjoyed our Women’s Day celebrations: there was a balance of sophistication and elegance in both the pampering and the thought-provoking life lessons on the day.

A massive thumbs-up to the organizers for raising the bar tenfold!


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