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Free access to information will make women proactive beneficiaries in our local communities

Thousands of community members in our township called Lebogang in Mpumalanga blazed the municipality building, passing cars and a community hall claiming service delivery a few months ago. Our provincial government lost 82 days last year due to service delivery protests. How can this be when South Africa has one of the highest gender quotas in Africa? Our constitution is hailed as one of the most progressive in the world but whose voices is this constitution giving? You don’t have to look far; the picture tells it all.

It is clear that our local government is still grappling with a grave crux to transform our country into a workable democracy. During the May 2008 Xenophobic attacks where a man was burned alive instead of dealing with the isolation that South Africans faced due to apartheid, they refuted it was “third forces” and with the service delivery protests they added another term and maintained it; “political ambitions”.

Local and provincial governments are expected to be training grounds for women politicians but it seems that our government is concerned with reaching gender equality at national level. In the 16 years of our democracy, our community has seen male Mayors, Municipal Managers and Councilors and no sign of women in sight even though women understand social issues better because we are empathetic human creatures and can exercise intuition.

To sustain this gender quota means those with political networks will serve without knowledge and the deepening curse of poverty and inequality will continue to increase opening new wounds of nepotism and ready made jobs for the connected few. The result is obvious, the service delivery dampening our communities over and over again.

Mpumalanga has the highest number of political killings in South Africa and this makes it a tad hard for communities to openly launch peaceful protests or lobby relevant authorities so that the government can be more responsive to the needs of the community and most of all for women politicians still left with human integrity to influence laws and policies at local level but they have become talk shops and are only visible during the election campaigns.

As women in our community, we were brought up in a system that made us believe we were inferior thus we became victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The solution is to make the information readily available and free for women and girls. To introduce them to the opportunities and hold workshops where women will come together instead of working in isolation.

Being a part of the online community allows me to learn, to gather the strength needed to exercise my right as enshrined in the constitution, to discuss with other like minded women, to source funding for women in our community, to ask volunteers around the world who have dedicated their lives to women emancipation. I no longer feel isolated and fearful and that’s one of the biggest challenges I overcame and I am starting to believe that I am my community’s voice.

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olutosin's picture

Your Post

I love reading your posts and I HAVE NEVER BEEN DISAPPOINTED, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Oh thank you Ma.

You have given me so much strength and you continue to do it's a wonderful feeling to have great women like you Mama Olutosin. Thank you, thank you so much.

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

Amei's picture

I learn from U

You write strong and clear Rudzanimbilu,

Strength is in how we manipulate the information we have. Access to information does make us confident and less fearful. I am glad to see you as the voice for your community. Keep going and you will achieve much more than you imagine.

Learning through your writings I make connections to my expereinces. Looking forward to learn more about you and your community.

Warm regards, Amei

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Thank you Amei

Thank you for finding time to read and making a connection is an added bonus. I really appreciate it.

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

Valerie from Oregon's picture

Your Powerful Voice

Hello Rudzanimbilu!
I'm one of the listeners for your Week Three assignment. I enjoyed reading your journal entry and can sense your passion for bringing about social change to increase respect and give voice to women in South Africa. It must be extremely difficult to mobilize people who share your positive vision while living in an area that “has the highest number of political killings in South Africa”! You write very well and clearly highlighted the challenges and barriers women in your community face, the solutions you propose to effect change, and how being part of an online community can help you reach your goals. I was deeply moved when I read in your bio that “with the support we have here at World Pulse, I feel like I was a dirty diamond and with time I am going to start shining”. I think you’re already starting to glow…keep up the good work!
Your friend,
Valerie

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Thank you so much Valerie

Thank you so much for finding time to read and for your positive feedback. Yes it is very hard indeed to live in our area. People just disappear, some are killed and their cases are never reported and it affects women one way or another because it is a father, a friend and a husband that goes missing and women are scared to take action for fear of being victimized or killed. The assignments session was really great and I can't thank you enough reading. From what you have written, it clearly shows that you took your time, finding what really made me to find myself here. This has been an experience of a lifetime and I appreciate every single word you have written.

Thank you,

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

Valerie from Oregon's picture

Your Powerful Voice

And I appreciate every single word you have written too. The world shouldn't underestimate the power of a mother! Blessings to you and your family...from one mother to another.

Valerie from Oregon's picture

Your Powerful Voice

Hello Rudzanimbilu!
I'm one of the listeners for your Week Three assignment. I enjoyed reading your journal entry and can sense your passion for bringing about social change to increase respect and give voice to women in South Africa. It must be extremely difficult to mobilize people who share your positive vision while living in an area that “has the highest number of political killings in South Africa”! You clearly highlighted the challenges and barriers women in your community face, the solutions you propose to effect change, and how being part of an online community can help you reach your goals. I was deeply moved when I read in your bio that “with the support we have here at World Pulse, I feel like I was a dirty diamond and with time I am going to start shining”. I think you’re already glowing…keep up the good work!
Your friend,
Valerie

bougeotte's picture

Greetings from a Listener

Rudzanimbilu,
I am one of the listener's for this week. I am here to help you grow as a writer and reporter. Overall, I understood the theme of your piece, but I was lost in some parts. (perhaps it it a terminology issue)
For example, I did not understand this sentence - " blazed the municipality building, passing cars and a community hall claiming service delivery a few months ago." What exactly is blazed the municipality building? Was it set on fire? Were people on strike? If you want to reach a broad audience, this must be clearer.
Secondly, in this bit - "Local and provincial governments are expected to be training grounds for women politicians but it seems that our government is concerned with reaching gender equality at national level," Does this mean gender equality ONLY at the national level? I am not quite sure about the context here either.
Your piece shows great promise, and you display strong conviction for gender equality and the use of Web 2.0 to help spread the word. However, make sure to proof your work a little more so that any ambiguities are fixed.
I look forward to reading more in the future.
Sincerely,
Terri

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Thank you Terri

Thank you so much for your feedback Terri. I was trying to say "it was set on fire" and since we use "blazed" a lot it was the first word that came to mind as I was writing. Please accept my apology and yes it was during the protest and yes only at the national level. I meant reaching the gender quotas at only national level but not at the local municipalities. I will ensure that I proof read it before and once again thank you so much for pointing out where I need to look at. I really appreciate it.

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

bougeotte's picture

No apology necessary

Radzanimbilu,
No apology is necessary. As a listener my goal is to help you reach a broader audience and be the voice of change. I enjoyed your story and look forward to reading more of your pieces.
Plus, I very much would love to spend some time in your country - so it was neat in a non listener fashion learning the vernacular.
Cheers,
Terri

Tina's picture

A fierce and passionate voice for change

Dear Rudzanimbilu,
From the title to the last word, you show a fierce passion for gender equality and social justice in your community through this piece. I was struck by both the power and force of your writing style and technique as well as your clear vision. In fact if I was to sum up this assignment in one word, it would be POWERFUL!! Very well done.
Tina

Rudzanimbilu's picture

Thank you Tina

Your words came at the right time. It's 07h10 am and I want to engrave the words you have written in my memory. Your words will carry me through for a very long time, not just today or tomorrow but forever. Thank you so much Tina.

Rudzanimbilu Muthambi

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