Speech by acting Director-General, Ms. Baduza, delivered on behalf of Deputy Minister Phaahla at the Gala Dinner of International Day of No Violence To Women, Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Gauteng
Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Thokozani Khupe
Minister of Basic Education and President of Women’s League,
Ms. Angie Motshega
Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motswaledi
Deputy Minister of Public Works, Ms. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
Ms. Nadi Albino of UNICEF
President of International Alliance of Women, Ms. Rosy Weiss
Vice-President of IAW, Ms. Linda Vestegen,
Regional Vice-President of MFWD Ms. Mmabatho Ramagoshi
All Protocol Observed!
We mark today’s International Day of No Violence to Women amidst many horrific incidents that targeted women and children, including a tourist in Gugulethu and school children at Jules High School. This tells us that we certainly need to do more to halt this carnage and abuse, to prevent this in future.
The theme of the 35th World Congress for the International Alliance of Women is “equality now!... working together to build a safe planet for all”. Government works closely with business, civil society organisations, state-owned enterprises, faith-based organisations and the media with the long-term objective of changing behaviour and eradicating all forms of violence and abuse of women and children. Our Constitution and our Bill of Rights contained therein speak to the equality of men and women. It rests on us to push for greater implementation of equality and safety between women and men in all spheres. This can only come about if we collectively develop strategies to confront challenges that face women at every instance. An old anonymous quotation went like this:
“Human Rights, Men’s Rights and Nothing More, Women’s Rights and Nothing Less”
This quotation captures the imbalance that exists in most of our societies. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, defines discrimination against women against the backdrop of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Department of Arts and Culture’s mandate to address Social Cohesion, Nation Building and National Identity places us in the center of national discourse on these issues. Besides our work with arts and heritage we need to work through our partners to encourage people to feel they belong to this country and that they need to invest in it. In doing so people need to value and recognize each other as in “ubunthu”. Ladies and gentlemen, as we observe the International Day of No Violence Against Women, we need to focus on the culture of violence prevailing in our country presently and we have to transform it into a culture of peace. I firmly believe that if people engage each other with the values of “ubunthu” we will not be aggressive with each other. We certainly caught a glimpse of it during the World Cup – it is therefore very possible.
We need to work on awareness raising, in our families, in our communities, in our societies and in our countries. As importantly as we are advocating that we work with environmental issues to prevent global warming we also need to work on societal issues to bring down crime and make this a safer place for everyone. We are connected to each other as families, as friends and as communities and we therefore have to help each other transform, “Together we can do it”. This is not an empty slogan but a real statement of partnership as Government cannot do everything.
The Department of Arts and Culture has embarked on projects dealing with intergenerational dialogues with men’s groups and women’s groups utilizing forms of arts expression to discuss how culture intersects with issues relating to gender equality to raise awareness.
There are many commemorative structures in South Africa which focus on the important events and persons in South Africa, and most of these focus on the roles and lives of South African men. There are a few monuments dedicated to women, one of these is the No 4 museum at Constitution Hill which focuses on the lives of women incarcerated at the Old Fort Jail during the Apartheid era. Secondly, other than the Women’s Monument in Stellenbosch, and the Women’s Memorial at the Anglo-Boer War Museum in the Free State, there is no dedicated women’s museum in South Africa. Both these monuments are dedicated to the role of white women in the Anglo-Boer/South African War of 1899-1902. There is however a Women’s Anti-Pass March sculpture at the Union Buildings, as the only Legacy Project dedicated to the women of South Africa. To address this there is therefore a proposed Women’s Museum and Development Centre which will be the first national museum in South Africa solely dedicated to the history, triumphs, and concerns of the women of South Africa in the Pre-colonial, Colonial, Apartheid and Post-Apartheid eras. The Lock Street Jail in Fleet Street East London, was identified as a landmark site on which to develop the museum. It has a long history of women’s activism. During the Defiance Campaign of the 1950’s 1067 of the 2 929 defiers were women. Notetha Nkwenkwe, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Florence Matomela are a few of the women who were born and worked in the Eastern Cape.
The Department of Arts and Culture is aware that the greater number of people facing poverty are women and have therefore devised programmes that can address this issue by providing skills and training through our various projects dealing with arts expression.
The DAC had a programme called “Investing in Culture”, a poverty alleviation programme which provided skills in craft making and other art forms and assisted these groups to market their products. Groups in the Presidential Poverty Nodes were identified for assistance and the majority of the participants were women. Many of these groups have formed co-operatives and are running craft centres in different parts of the country. DAC will be resuming the second phase of this programme shortly.
In conclusion, our role as custodians of heritage is developmental in order to nurture and sustain culture but also to effect our vision of emancipation, the fulfillment of non-racism, non-sexism and a people-centered democracy. Let us therefore make it our duty to affirm a caring attitude throughout our communities. Thank you.