Thank you to all POWA Walkathon supporters and participants who supported our 16 Day of Activism Campaign for No Violence against women and children; the 5km Walk at the Nike stadium, Klipspruit Soweto on the 25th November 2018.
Let us continue to support such initiatives for 365 days not only within 16 days in a year.
Request for Support for POWA 2018 Walkathon during 16 Days of Activism of no Violence Against Women and Children
People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) is a women’s rights organisation aimed at ensuring that the rights of women and girls are protected and promoted. It offers services ranging from counselling, legal advice, training, advocacy and shelters to survivors of violence against women and their children. The organisation has six offices within the Gauteng Province based in Berea, Soweto, Sebokeng, Katlehong, Vosloorus and Tembisa. Besides these branches the organization also works in schools within the Province of Gauteng. The schools are located in Tembisa (Ekurhuleni North), Evaton (Sedibeng west) and Diepsloot with the intention of Ending sexual violence in South African schools. For further information on POWA services and programmes, please visit our website at www.powa.co.za.
POWA is planning to have the Gender Based Violence Walkathon (Family fun walk) during the 16 Days of Activism of no Violence against Women and Children. The theme of the walk will be “Walk the talk, break the Silence”. This will be the first walk of this nature and the plan is to continue having it annually, increasing the target in subsequent years. This walk is informed by the fact that, Violence against women continues to be a global problem affecting women and children, and South Africa is not an exception. Gender Links indicators study reveals that, more than three quarters of South African men have perpetrated violence against women in their lifetime, and more than half of women in South Africa have experienced gender based violence. Every year in South Africa, an estimated more than one million rapes occur: and more than a thousand women are killed by an intimate partner. The current high statistics on violence against women have also been confirmed the 2013 study by the Department of Women, Children and people with disabilities on violence against women in South Africa, know your epidemic- know your response. Some of the challenges that survivors face is lack of awareness of the services available for their assistance, as well the knowledge of preventative measures of violence against women for the vulnerable women and girls.
Nhlanhla Mokwena, executive director of POWA, is a qualified social worker, with a certificate in Training and Development and a Masters in Philosophy in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. She’s very passionate about the rights of women and girls, and respects the rights of all individuals. As a human rights activist, she also strongly believes in social justice for all.
POWA was formed in 1979 by a group of women volunteers in order to provide referral services and sheltering to women who were experiencing domestic violence. Over a period of thirty-nine years, POWA has continued to provide shelter for abused women and their children, frontline services, including counseling and legal services and support. POWA was the first organization to establish a shelter for women in 1981. POWA currently has 7 physical working sites in Gauteng that provide counseling, sheltering and legal support to women at face-to-face level. They also have national reach and presence through their telephonic counseling, advocacy, public awareness and sector strengthening work. Through funding from NACOSA, POWA started providing services for young women and women in the form of containment services for survivors of sexual violence, 24 hours and seven days a week HIV and AIDS pre and post-counseling, collecting information on STI testing, post-exposure prophylaxis treatment and referral for abortion. Furthermore, there is a social worker and community of youth workers who support the TCC’s with community outreach and sector strengthening work within the communities.
Over the years they have become an organisation that is considered to be an expert on issues of women’s rights and are consulted by the private sector, government and civil society on educational and decision-making matters pertaining to women’s safety and enjoyment of their rights. As an organisation, their aim is to ‘open spaces for us as women in all our diversity to enjoy our fundamental human rights.’
What are some of the challenges POWA faces?
Nhlanhla Mokwena: As a women’s rights organisation addressing violence against women and girls, the organisation struggles for funding, as is the case with many NGO’s.
Women have come a long way since the first National Women’s Day in 1994. What do you feel has been the most significant achievement?
NM: South Africa has a progressive constitution that is respected globally, and the country has national legislation enacted to curb violence against women and girls, but the problem is a lack of implementation.
Which women have had the biggest impact on your life? How and why?
NM: My late grandmother and mother. From a very young age they always built my confidence and taught me that a girl has to get educated and work hard for herself. They did not raise me with gender stereotypes of my role as a girl or woman. I am thankful to them both for the values they have instilled and I am passing their teachings onto my daughter.
Women play so many different roles in society to great success. What is your role in society, be it at home, work or otherwise?
NM: I am a women first and that means I am a feminist who believes in equal rights for women and men; a mother who nurtures my daughter and other loved ones and also play a teachers role to them. I am an activist as well.
What’s the most important misconception about women that still needs to change?
NM: Women mean yes when they say no. Women should be submissive then the violence will end. Women being blamed for the abuse they experience.
What makes you feel powerful?
NM: I believe in myself. I love myself, flaws and all. I don’t associate with negative people but with people who build me. My humility makes me powerful.
What makes you feel beautiful?
NM: Beautiful clothes, shoes and a healthy mind and body.
Do you believe in style as a form of personal everyday activism? How do you practice this?
NM: I always wear clothes that make me comfortable to present my self for every occasion, work, business and social occasion.
Tell us about a moment in your life when you’ve felt really proud to be a woman.
NM: Everyday when I have conversations with my daughter. She is turning out to be a confident young women, who is intelligent, works hard and very humble. She is beautiful too.
If you could live the life of any famous fictional female character, who would it be and why?
NM: Catwoman, because she saves the world and I am passionate about living in a good world. She is intelligent, strong, beautiful and sexy.
Which personal achievement are you most proud of?
I completed my masters in one year at 45 and have raised a phenomenal young woman as a single mother.
In celebration of Women’s Month, join Poetry and POWA in the fight against violence and abuse against women and girls. You will have the option to donate R10 to POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse) with your Poetry purchases made in August, and we will match every donation made to this worthy cause. Read more about it here.
Through the production of NKAMOHELENG, “Accept me as I am” radio documentary we would like to acknowledge the team of POWA, Vosloo Activators, EHAWU, and Gauteng Provincial Association of Persons with Disabilities (GPAPD). The team implemented the community, lesbian and mainstream and special schools dialogues in order to gather issues of violence and discrimination experienced by a girl living with disabilities in the family, community, schools, Police and clinics to bring this drama into reality.
Our gratitude goes to the community of Kathorus which participated and trusted us by sharing their stories during our community dialogues and lesbian dialogues that were conducted to gather the experiences of NKAMOHELENG.
Our appreciation also goes to the Ekurhuleni South and Sedibeng West districts schools that granted us the permission to conduct dialogues with the young women in the secondary and special schools. The special schools are Isipho Sethu special school and Thabo Vuyo Resource Centre. The secondary schools are Thuto Lesedi Secondary, Mpontsheng Secondary, Ramolelle Secondary, and Prestigious High School.
Kasie FM is also acknowledged for the partnership as a community radio station broadcasting for Ekurhuleni district where the project was implemented. Kasie FM is thanked for compiling the script of NKAMOHELENG and recording the drama though the expertise and passion of Ms. Matshidiso Khiba and her crew.
Our most appreciation goes to the actors of NKAMOHELENG. Vosloo Activator members Matshidiso Mofokeng, Mahlatse Mokgai, Sibongile Nzibande, Gugu Mkhubuzi, Refiloe Matome and Dimakatso Nzama. These are the people who brought life to the issues gathered through the dialogues in order for us to have the voices for the radio documentary. Thanks.
The support of Oxfam South Africa cannot be underestimated. It is through their financial and technical support that we are able to have started the collaboration, implemented dialogues and finally produce NKAMOHELENG. Our greatest appreciation to OXFAM for always seeing the need to support POWA’s work for women and girls.a