ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL CO-CONVENER DURING THE OCCASION OF MEMORIAL SERVICE OF PROF HLENGIWE MKHIZE
ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL CO-CONVENER OF THE PROGRESSIVE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA MS ZINGISWA LOSI DURING THE OCCASION OF MEMORIAL SERVICE OF PROF HLENGIWE
The Ngobese and Mkhize Families;
His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers Present;
Members of Parliament Present;
We are today paying tribute to a former student leader, a senior lecturer, a former commissioner, an ambassador, a minister and deputy minister in different portfolios and most importantly a leader as well as an organiser of note.
Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize was a colossal leader of our time who made an impact in every sector or area that she served in. This is a leader who led no matter what the circumstance, she stood for women’s rights as well as their financial and economic emancipation.
When thinking of the posture of leadership that Professor Hlengiwe, our Convener took, we can’t help but think of the directive which was given to us by Ma Lilian Ngoyi when she spoke at the inaugural conference of the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW). She said:
“Let us be brave: we have heard of men shaking in their trousers, but who ever heard of a woman shaking in her skirt?”
Literally and figuratively, Prof Hlengiwe never shook in her skirt, she knocked at all doors and sat in bigger boardrooms to ensure that the financial and economic condition of a woman irrespective of her political affiliation or geographical location is changed for the best.
As the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa (PWMSA) we experienced this pre-eminent leadership first hand when she steered our gigantic movement. Prof Mkhize made sure that everything that the PWMSA did had an impact especially benefitting the poorest of the poor.
The PWMSA was launched in Bloemfontein on August 8, 2006. Our membership comprises of more than 35 national multisectoral organisations and institutions and includes women representing civil society, labour, faith-based organisations, political parties, business, arts and culture and professional bodies.
PWMSA was created because women’s experiences were that despite the democratic dispensation, the degree of sociopolitical and economic progress was slow for women. Even those women who benefited from the democracy were still confronted by the huge obstacle of patriarchy and all it represents in society.
Our founding Convener and Co-Convener were Ms Baleka Mbete and Ms Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya. Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize and I took over from these two determined leaders.
From our election and assumption we hit the ground running in terms of activating things like securing office space, conducting sessions throughout provinces and getting involved in government policy processes on issues affecting women. We also started attending conferences addressing issues faced by women, and forging partnerships with either government, academia or international organizations.
Through it all Prof Mkhize proved to be a strong force to be reckoned with and a worthy resource to the movement. In her work, Prof Mkhize ensured that no woman is left behind. She made it her task to ensure that rural women especially those coming from impoverished areas of our country benefitted in one way or another through PWMSA programs.
Some of our recent achievements as a movement under the leadership of Prof Mkhize includes the establishment of the PWMSA Agricultural Desk working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. This was an initiative which we thought would come in very handy to ensure that women own productive assets such as land. Once more, the driving force towards this strategic move was Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize. Some of our women benefitted from the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative for Subsistence Producers.
Also, in pursuit of achieving the target of women’s ownership of productive assets such as land, the PWMSA in some provinces supported by the National Office have engaged the provincial Departments of Agriculture. These engagements are done to inform Provincial Agricultural MEC’s of the struggle for land ownership by women including opportunities to participate in enabled food production and also request assistance for women to where possible to access land and other related opportunities.
PWMSA participated in the development and launch of Women’s Charter for Accelerated Development 2021. The Charter articulates and encapsulates a clear trajectory and pathway for the realisation of effective equality through well identified 15 strategic objectives and a large number of
priority actions which are based on well-defined problem statements.
Through her life’s work, Prof Hlengiwe demonstrated activism that we can all learn from. She reminded us of the struggle icon who government chose this year to commemorate her 150th birthday anniversary, Ma Charlotte Mannya Maxeke. Ma Maxeke was also an academic, a community leader, a woman of sound values and principles, as well as a church leader. Prof Mkhize brought to life the words of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke when she said: “If you can rise bring someone with you”. Let us all take a leaf out of the book of this potent leader of our times, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize; may her soul rest in peace!
I thank you!
Cde Zingiswa Losi
PWMSA National Co-Convener
For inquiry and more information, kindly contact the National Office as follows:
Ms Makoma Makhurupetje
PWMSA National Office
071 480 5683
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