Following the launch of the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) Young Women’s Desk (YWD) in Bloemfontein in January, this year (2016), the campaign has been engaging with young women aged between 18 and 40 in all provinces on issues faced by women daily, such as violence and education.
In attendance was AU Commission chairman, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is also an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC); eThekwini YWD Convener, Amanda Bani as well as Fikile Masiko, South African model and entertainer.
The campaign, the (ANCWL Young Women’s Desk) was brought to foe at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’S) ML Sultan Campus in a bid to engage in dialogue with the young female students from various tertiary institutions such as DUT, University of Zululand (Unizulu) and MUT (Mangosuthu University of Technology), to name but a few. The reason behind the dialogue was to allow young women of all cultures to speak up on contentious problems such as “blessers” (sugar daddies on steroids), gender equality, HIV/AIDS and what contributions young women can make in the political arena.
Taking the podium and speaking on HIV/AIDS, ANCYWD’s Fikile Masiko, emphasised the role young women play in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “Young women between the ages of 18 to 24 years who are in tertiary institutions need to take up the fight against this scourge and engage with leadership. This Young Women’s Desk was launched to go beyond the elections and raise issues which are affecting us and the way forward,” she said.
Reiterating the important role young women play in South Africa, Dr Dlamini-Zuma added that it was important for young women to arm themselves with education and skills as “they are the future of the nation”. Dr Dlamini-Zuma called on young women to be role models to their communities and in society, and be able to articulate themselves and share ideas. “Research has shown that companies that employ many women have vast competitiveness amongst them (women) so it makes sense to educate and empower women for the business sector. If we want to transform our society we need to empower our young women as it is very important that young women, like yourselves, are more active in politics. While great strides have been made in promoting the rights of women, much more needs to be done,” she stressed.
Also discussed at the event was the issue of having a female president for South Africa and the Young Women’s Desk structure has ensured that programmes around political and socio-economic development of young women will continue to be addressed to the fullest.
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: AU Commission Chairman, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, at the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) Young Women’s Desk (YWD) event at DUT.