Arming women to defend themselvesComment on this story
Durban - Having single-handedly fought off armed hijackers was not enough for military mom Marietjie Grant.
Instead, the 38-year-old martial arts enthusiast and mother has made it her mission to make sure women in Durban are armed with the necessary skills to defend themselves.
And her effort to prevent women from falling victim to acts of violence is expanding.
Grant narrowly avoided being hijacked in Pinetown on June 11. Despite being attacked by several men - one of them fired a shot at her - she managed to get away unscathed.
That harrowing ordeal stirred her drive to fight back.
“I want women to take their power back,” the New Germany woman told the Daily News last week. “I want to use my skills to help women protect themselves.”
Grant, who spent several years in the military and has learnt several different forms of martial arts, has been inundated with requests to impart her skills to women across Durban since the Daily News carried the story two months ago.
One such request came from Dr Shiraz Banu Khan, a dentist in Palmview, Phoenix.
They held their first session on Saturday - Women’s Day.
“We want to get the whole community involved,” said Khan.
“Women are the most vulnerable, in terms of violent crime, so we need to empower ourselves.
“If we react quickly, we can save lives.”
Khan said she hoped to make the session in Phoenix, which was attended by nine women, a weekly event.
“We open for half a day on Saturdays, so we’ll hold the session at 2.30pm.”
“We are just lucky that we are learning from someone who knows what they are doing and is willing to help,” said Khan.
Grant said she had also been contacted by Suncoast Casino to hold in-house sessions with their female employees from September.
“We are working with different neighbourhood watch groups as well, but were thinking of synchronising the classes with their fortnightly meetings in their community halls.”
The free sessions will be held at Khan Centre, 468 Trenance Park Drive, Palmview, in Phoenix, weekly, kicking off again at 2.30pm on August 23.