Bo-Kaap women learn about their rights

The women of Bo-Kaap learning some self-defence moves.

The City of Cape Town ran a Women’s Day programme in the Bo-Kaap on Saturday August 18, as part of an initiative to interact with residents and get involved in issues facing the area.

The City’s social services department, together with the community, focused solely on the women of Bo-Kaap, who were offered legal advice, Zumba sessions, self-defence classes and environmental health services.

There were also health screenings for breast cancer, blood pressure and diabetes.

Organiser and resident, Sumaya Erefaan said there was a need for such an initiative in the community. She said they wanted to uplift the women of Bo-Kaap, empower them and educate them about their rights.

Ms Erefaan said she had always wanted to be part of the people who were making a change in her community and to make others realise that whatever they were going through, they were not alone.

“We’ve always needed a ladies group in Bo-Kaap, and this could be the beginning of something great,” said Ms Erefaan.

The City’s representative, Lihle Hlomela, said they understood the importance of raising awareness about health issues and social ills that women faced daily.

“We decided to even invite people from an organisation such as the Women’s Legal Centre who would educate the women in the community about their rights as women,” said Ms Hlomela.

She said it was important to engage and speak directly to the people and understand the issues they faced.

“We’re planning to come back in two weeks’ time. We’ve learnt that they need a women’s club where they can connect, share their problems and uplift each other. It’s important to listen and engage the women on a regular basis and not only on special days like the Women’s Day,” said Ms Hlomela.