It was a day filled with ululation, reflection and inspiration as hundreds of women from all walks of life took part in the 2018 Women’s Humanity Walk last Thursday, August 9.
The annual walk was part of the Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival.
Organised by Women Zone, an NPO which aims to unite women in Cape Town, the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI) and the Artscape, the walk started from the Schotschekloof civic centre in Bo-Kaap and headed to the Artscape Theatre.
The theme this year was “Uniting in Faith”.
Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux welcomed the walkers. She said the problems faced by women were far from over. She touched on the importance of raising children equally.
“Let’s start with ourselves. Are you raising your girl child the same way as the boy child? Is it with compassion, humanity, caring and volunteerism or is it always about anger?” asked Ms Le Roux.
Ms Le Roux said many problems were deeply rooted in childhood anger.
“If you are going to have a 35-year-old man who’s constantly attacking women and vulnerable groups, something must have gone wrong in their childhood, and today, we need to take responsibility,” she said.
Ms Le Roux praised mayor Patricia de Lille for standing for integrity during the dark days of apartheid. She said Ms De Lille was a rising star when it was not easy.
“When the media was not there, she spoke for women, when the light was not there, she spoke for the poor, when all the masses were not there, she spoke for workers’ rights.”
Ms Le Roux said one could never just erase a track record and it was important to honour Ms De Lille for her fighting spirit and compassion.
“What you’ve gone through, we’re always going through and you can count on us,” she said.
Ms De Lille told demonstrators that they were not angry enough.
“Every year during the month of August, we talk about women and children abuse, my question always is: what are we doing tomorrow? We go back into the same situation day after day.”
Ms De Lille said people should not allow bad things to happen to them.
“God not only gave you a brain and a heart to think and to pray but to do something; if you’re in an abusive relationship, walk away,” she said.
Ms De Lille said you do not need to be a women to fight for equality just as you do not need to be black to fight against racism.
She said people needed to take action. She encouraged mothers to have a balance when raising children.
“We, as mothers, are bringing up all these little brats that today are women abusers. We must stop spoiling the boy child,” she said.
Shesaideveryoneneeded to take an action because it was impossible for police to knock at people’s doors every day.
Walker Cetyiswa Sigonyela said it was important that women spoke out when they were being abused.
“Sometimes women stay in an abusive relationships or even let their children be abused by men in families and sweep everything under the rug because they are breadwinners, this must end,” she said.
The founder of Women Zone, Nancy Richards, said they chose to start the walk from Bo-Kaap because it was a jewel on the edge of Cape Town.
She said the faith in the community was strong and they wanted to embrace that.
“This may seem like a simple thing to get the women walking, but if we can get the women walking together, we can get the whole of Cape Town to walk. We started off wanting to unite women, but it’s grown to unite all of Cape Town,” she said.