(Published - 20 August 2018)
The Faculty of Economic and Management Science hosted a women’s day event on Friday in celebration of women’s month. The Dean of the Faculty - Professor Michelle Esau - delivered the welcome address. Professor Esau thanked all the female staff who came out in their numbers and shared the significance of this month with all women in the country.
“This is the month where we remember the women who consolidated their God-given talents and gifts and mobilised against an oppressive political system called apartheid,” she said. She encouraged women all over the country to remember these pioneers, celebrate their lives and to continue fighting for equality. Professor Esau appealed to the guests to take action against the abuse of women and children in South Africa.
“As women in this Faculty, we are so privileged to be part of the biggest Faculty - in terms of student numbers - at this University”. This means staff have the opportunity to directly impact the lives of so many students. The Dean acknowledged the hard work and dedication of female staff members in the Faculty. “We literally have the ability to change the course of students lives; being born into poverty does not mean that it has to stay that way”.
The event consisted of various activities including lucky draws, poetry and music. Acclaimed Professor Shirley Zinn was one of the speakers. Professor Zinn - a UWC alumnus - held high level positions at, among others, SARS, Woolworths and Standard Bank.
She shared her personal and academic journey which has contributed to her many and inspiring achievements.
“I want all the women in here to try and think about your vision for your life, the purpose for your life and the impact that you want to have in life,” said Professor Zinn, the author of Swimming Upstream.
Poet Diana Ferrus wrote a special poem for the event. “The Dean asked me to write about the women, our heroins, during the struggle,” she said. Then she began.
To March or not to march
Have you marched yet?
Like 20 000 women in 1956?
Have you marched yet?
Climbed the steps of the Union Buildings, fearlessly shouting,
“You strike a woman, you strike a rock”?
Can you march?
Like Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Sophie De Bruyn, Rahima Moosa and 20 000 women?
This country’s women have marched
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Bibi Ayesha Dawood, Lizzy Abrahams, Ray Alexander, Rocky Mafukeng have marched
Marched against so much
Pass laws, forced removals, workers’ exploitation, the evil of Apartheid
Dare we stop the march?
When violence stay on our doorstep, fly in our face everytime we want to move
Let us remember the marchers
As we speak out against women’s oppression, as we take our rightful equal space
As we lead our girls out of fear
As we teach our boys compassion
Let us remember and march, for 20 000 have marched for us
Ferrus received a standing ovation from the guests - many visibly emotional.