This past Saturday saw YFM host their annual Womyn 2 Womyn event at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. Kicking off on an icy Autumn morning, the day was full of energy from inception as the ladies trickled in and were welcomed with a lekker goodie bag that included:
- A water bottle
- Sun visor
- Two Jungle Plus High Protein Porridge samples
- A Womyn 2 Womyn vest
- Two tokens to redeem a Powerade Zero and Bonaqua still water each
The treats didn’t stop there. A yoga mat and Ingram’s Tissue Oil Cream was waiting for each person as they picked their spots for the day.
Hosted by the beautiful, sweet soul that is Khutso Theledi, she feels that this year’s Women’s Month had more of an impact. This year we as women are standing up for ourselves more – but still, need to stand up with each other as women. “For me, the difference is, its become more real this Women’s month. You can feel it. You can taste it. You can see it. It’s either you choose to love it or you choose to hate it,” Theledi said.
As a 28-year old woman, she believes that as the generation of women in 2019, we lack the understanding of what legacy means. This we need to rectify. We need to get to know one another and begin to learn from each other. This will empower us and strengthen us as a unit. There really isn’t a need to be intimidated by one another when we are stronger together.
According to Theledi, femicide is what needs to come to an end now – not later but now! “Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Femicide. We can’t be killing our loved ones. What does love mean then if femicide exists?” Theledi questions completely perplexed. Not exclude men, knowing that they are abused to, she urges them to love and support the women in their lives.
When YFM said an action-packed day would be the order for the day, they were not lying.
We got treated to a yoga session that opened-up the chakra’s and set the tone for the day. Thank God for that yoga session as it warmed our bodies up and stretched out the muscle groups. All this in preparation for the intensity that was about to reign on us!!
Zinhle Masango, better known as Zee FitnessJunkie, is no joke people. If this is what having a personal trainer is all about, then I need to follow suit quick, fast and in a hurry. The fitness queen, who is also a certified nutritionist, gave us our lives on a silver platter with strength training via bodyweight exercises. She targeted places on the body that I didn’t even know could hurt so bad… and yet so good at the same time. Zee FitnessJunkie equipped us with strength. Strength that is required should it be needed to defend yourself from immediate bodily harm.
Mark Grobbelaar of Woman INpowered showed us what to do and what not to do in an attack. Grobbelaar advised us on the most basics of self-defence, urging us to punch perpetrators in the throat and not try to kick them in the nuts as we are so used to hearing. You don’t want to necessarily hurt your attacker but immobilise them completely.
Grobbelaar emphasised to strike what you can see as you will most probably miss if you go for something you do not have a view of. If you choose to hit their testicles, eyes, or feet, chances are you’ll just make them angrier, and now vengeance will also be their motive. This makes more sense when you realise that at that moment, your assailant is being fueled by adrenaline and that will numb his pain receptors. Realistically, you will not be able to hurt him.
By punching the attacker on their throat, it will immobilise them. Leaving them gasping for air and this could be your window to get away quickly.
Of course, it could never be a day just filled with fun seeing how there is a very concerning attack on women. Womyn to Womyn got the conversation flowing with a panel of professionals for discussions that covered issues that hit women the hardest. These professionals were made up of Edith Leeuta, Zee FitnessJunkie, Lwando Xaso, Mark Grobbelaar and Busisiwe (CiCi) Twala.
A Human Resources practitioner by profession and owner of Enele Consulting, Edith Leeuta spoke to us about negotiating our worth in the workplace. “Many of us just do not know, how to negotiate our worth,” Leeuta said. Profession wise, I know this is true for a lot of us. For the most part, we are just happy that we got invited in for that job interview and the prospect of getting hired is all you really care about. Leeuta advocates for knowing your worth and how to negotiate for a better deal.
Attorney, writer and head of Including Society, Lwando Xaso is passionate about diversity and representation in all areas, of all aspects of society. Having had dealt with cases of domestic abuse in the past, even as a lawyer, Xaso does recognise that the law has limitations and can only go so far. “A restraining order is good in terms of evidence. That should something happen to you, at least there is a paper trail that you felt fear from someone and that it is recorded somewhere. But at the end of the day, it is a piece of paper.” said Xaso. As much as she is a champion of the constitution, Xaso knows that it doesn’t come alive if we don’t. Not all answers can be found in the law, and your support structure is where your strength lies. The majority of us are affected by abuse – directly or indirectly. We have either survived some form of abuse or have witnessed it first hand. This, in turn, can distort our view if we are in an abusive situation. With a good support structure, you are more likely to get out of it and follow through with any charges you may choose to lay on your attacker.
Survivors of physical abuse, Zee FitnessJunkie and Busisiwe (CiCi) Twala, joined the panel to tell us their first-hand experience and how that led to who they are today. “I didn’t wake-up thinking I want to be a sgora,” Zee FitnessJunkie shares with us on how she actually started her fitness journey. For her, it came from feeling defenceless and she wanted to be intimidating to her male counterpart and has nothing to do with the aesthetics of it all. Having a child within the abusive relationship, she took her power back by getting physically strong so that she could fight back for both herself and her son.
Still fighting for her justice, CiCi advocates women standing together and talking to each other about the problems we are facing. As women, she emphasised that we need to be one before we strive to be part of anything else. “Patriarchy is a given in this society that we live in,” CiCi said. Highlighting that we are born innately powerful and need to take back our power.
Both of these ladies felt cheated by the justice system from the police station to the courts. Being asked by a police officer “what did you do to him?” is one of the major deterrents we face in this country as this is double victimisation and just leads to the further deterioration of our society.
Mark Grobbelaar is the founder and CEO of Woman INpowered and holds the 6th Dan in Karate. “It all really started when a friend of mine was abducted 25-years ago by two guys. Brutally raped, her throat slit and left for dead on a road in Port Elizabeth,” he says on how Woman INpowered came to be. Recognising that men are the primary perpetrators against women, he believes that teaching women self-defence has to be different to how men are taught self-defence. Why? Because we are different. Men tend to be stronger than females and this is just a fact of nature. This fact should not discourage us and urges that women can do anything. All we need is the knowledge and technique to do it and immobilise a whole man is something we can do.
The wind down
Physically trying and mentally evoking, YFM’s Womyn 2 Womyn was brought to a great end as we got information. Bontle Modiselle got us to shake and shimmy our worries away to Sho Madjozi’s John Cena.
Pregnant and glowing, Modiselle was full of energy that jolted us as we were lagging on the account of not doing this more often. Choreographing a whole dance routine for us, we were a flashmob that brought the Square to life.