SISTERS DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
By: Thobele Nzama
The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Housing Department hosted its first annual ResLife Women Empowerment Conference on Saturday at the university’s Walsingham Residence.
Themed “A Woman in Me”, the conference’s purpose was to uplift young women from all of DUT’s residences and promote an aura of sisterhood and tolerance among each other.
Being one of the few males present at the conference, DUT’s Central Housing Council President, Sipho Mkhize affirmed the ladies with confidence and gave them advice. “In all you do, open your ears and listen from the heart,” he said.
Speaking in context of sugar daddies, Mkhize warned delegates to not associate themselves with that kind of lifestyle.
“Ensure that when you leave here (university), there is no sugar daddy to ruin your life,” he expressed.
Talking about positive transformation of DUT by DUT young women was a woman holding such position, Professor Nqabomzi Gawe, who centred her talk on contrasting the typical perception of a man and woman at the work place.
“Women are supposed to always have a subservient position. If you make a noise, you are told you are emotional but if a man does the same thing, it’s different,” she said.
Gawe interjected her talk with a story about her friend who held a high position at work but her voice was being ignored but she stood her ground and made people listen to her views as well.
“The point is, know yourself. Stand your ground,” she added.
Gawe defined positive transformation with a butterfly analogy, saying that in its formative stages, no one notices it but it knows itself and has a direction.
“Know yourself, who and where you come from. Embrace that because you know who you are, you can’t change anything if you don’t know who you are,” she said. According to the professor, the butterfly, now an egg transforms and isn’t afraid to do so because it has an identity and in the end everybody wants to catch it. “This is when you make a choice to allow yourself to learn and change,” she added.
From the Centre of Hope at Ethekwini Community College, Lady Thuli Mngoma tackled the topic of Culture vs Religion vs Civilisation of a modern day woman who described the topic as an inxakanxaka (messy challenge). Mngoma inspired young women to be confident and God-fearing beings. “We are fearfully and wonderfully made”, said Mngoma.
“You shouldn’t at all listen to a second voice, if you do that means you didn’t have a first voice to listen to,” she said. “Anything that God has assigned you to do, he provides,” she added.
The conference ended with the formation of Iqhawe, a support structure to help transform women in and around the institution. Senior Residence Life Officer, Sithuthukile Mashabane, said that she’s confident that the next conference will draw an even bigger audience.