UNIZULU Women Urged to “Be Bold for Change”

The University of Zululand (UNIZULU) recently held its Women’s Day celebrations in honour of the incredible women who have changed the course of history for the better throughout the ages as well as its female staff who work hard in ensuring that the University continues to deliver on its mandate of providing quality education to its students.

The celebrations were held at the Umfolozi Casino, Empangeni. During the event, the ongoing scourge of gender-based violence was also addressed, with the attending women being urged to be “bold for change”.

The ladies were exquisitely dressed in black with a touch of “bling” which was a strategic continuation of the dress code for the University’s Black Thursdays campaign aiming to unite the UNIZULU community in the fight against women and children abuse as well as create awareness about gender-based violence.

Beyond the glitz and glamour however, the message was clear: society needs to be bold for change where gender parity is concerned.

Speaking on behalf of Professor Xoliswa Mtose, the Vice-Chancellor at UNIZULU, Dr Yasmin Rugbeer, the Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor said that “Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and it calls for gender parity”. “No one in government, no women’s network, no NGO is the sole custodian of this day. It belongs to everyone,” said Dr Rugbeer.

She continued to mention that violence against women and children remains “one of the most tolerated violations of human rights” but that it was up to each and every individual to change this status quo by taking actions against all forms of abuse. According to Dr Rugbeer, one of the ways in which society can achieve gender equality is if parents raise girl children to be brave, bold and confident about sharing their great ideas. When society does this, she said, an “I can” attitude will be planted in young girls’ minds and will thereafter thrive in all they set out to achieve.

In her keynote address, Michelle Jewlal, the Director of Lifeline Zululand, discussed emotional wellness/intelligence; mentioning the four factors which contribute to it. These are, she said, self-awareness, empathy, social relationships and personal influence. Without a balance in these areas, Jewlal said chaos is created, which thus results in social ills.

In conclusion, Jewlal encouraged women to make hard work and determination their “chronic illnesses” as that will guarantee their success in life. “Ignite who you are and become that fire and spark for yourself and for others to see,” she said.

-Naledi Hlefane