Networking event and launch of our new project in Cape Town
On 9 August, South Africa celebrates National Women’s Day. This year we decided to celebrate too by officially launching our new project in Khayelitsha, a township just outside Cape Town, supporting the Nonceba Family Counselling Centre for women and children.
We had an informal gathering with some of our London-based members at the Stewarts Law offices and screened our new short film about Nonceba. The film — narrated by The Circle founder, Annie Lennox — tells the story of Siyanda and how Nonceba is helping her to turn her life around.
Speakers included The Circle Relationships Manager Peta Barrett, The Circle CEO Sioned Jones and Chair of The Scottish Circle Becky Cox. Our guest speaker for the night was Dr Linda Greenwall, founder of the women-led project Dental Wellness Trust and member of The Circle. Linda shared her experience of living and working in South Africa, setting up a project in Khayelitsha and her insights on the township.
After the screening, members had the chance to connect with fellow members, discover more about how our individual Circles have formed and find out more about how our members can make a difference.
About the project
The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre offers support for women and children who are victims of violence and abuse. Located in Khayelitsha, South Africa, the shelter provides safe accommodation, access to healthcare, legal services and educational programmes to enable women like Siyanda to become independent.
Why National Women’s day?
On 9 August 1956 women of all races marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act 1950. More commonly known as ‘pass laws’, the law required non-white men to hold internal passports during the apartheid era, which served to maintain population segregation and manage urbanisation and migrant labour. The proposed changes to the law meant this would apply to non-white women, but this met with unified resistance. A song was composed in honour of the occasion — Whathint’Abafazi Whathint’imbokodo! — Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock!
Today the incarnation is ‘you strike a woman, you strike a rock’ and this is voiced in South Africa on National Women’s Day, a national holiday that raises awareness of issues still faced by women in South Africa. The issues include, but are not limited to, domestic violence, sexual harassment, unequal pay, unequal access to education for girls and sexual violence — just under 110 rape cases were reported in South Africa per day between April to December 2016.
In honour of the women who protested for women’s rights in 1956, we hope you will join us on 9 August and show support for the women who continue to fight against gender inequalities in 2017.
A little goes a long way
It costs just under £170 to support one woman and her family for a month at Nonceba, which is a little over £5 per day. Women receive the most benefits that Nonceba has to offer if they are supported by the centre for one year. If you would like to support the women fighting for a better future for themselves and their families please donate here.