Let’s Never Forget

Jane Sithole MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Women, Youth, Children and People with disabilities

Note: The following Debate was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by Jane Sithole MPL the DA’s Provincial Spokesperson on Women, Youth, Children and People with disabilities during the debate on Women’s Day.

Women’s day in South Africa marks the remarkable demonstration that took place in 1956.  On that day women of all races and backgrounds marched in protest against apartheid pass laws, women across South Africa moved in solidarity and signed the petition in this regard.

This ground breaking protest represented women’s bravery, courage and strength and I stand before you today in honour of those women who have inspired, who have paved the way and given hope to so many of us.

Women like, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams, Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi to name a few gave me and other women the confidence to be who I am.  To be comfortable in my own skin and to be who I want to be without having to explain myself to anyone.  And the sacrifices they made gave me the freedom to choose my affiliation, my association, my organisation, my DA, my future.

The violence that women face on a daily basis remind us of how risky it is to be born a girl.  In particular we must not forget the girl children of Nigeria, who are still in the hands of Boko Haram, to this day it is still unclear what Nigerian government is doing to help bring back our girls.

And we spare a thought for the massive number of women in our rural areas who are victims of economic and social crises that they had no part in creating.  Our’s should be to enhance the freedom of other women and not stifle it for our own selfish reasons or political gain.

Women and children are at the receiving end of the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine, families in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip are torn apart as they watch their loved ones vanish one by one.  We can’t look away, screams for help plaque our TV screens every moment, and we continue to pray for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Hon Speaker, like Helen Suzman once said “it takes nothing to stand with the crowd but it takes everything to stand alone”.

Kannete, mo reyago gona e sale kgole, tsela ye e tloba boima, nako yenngwe re be nagane le go tlogela, ba tlilo leka go re fetsa maatla le gona go re nyamisha, e fela Sepedi se re “mmago ngwana o swara thipa ka bogaleng” and we are going to do exactly that.

We will never forget those 60 minutes of silence outside the Union Buildings in 1956 and we should remind ourselves of how much more still need to be done.

Hon. Speaker, all South Africans have a role to play. We have a responsibility to honour the sacrifices of our heroines over the years.

Let us never forget.