Women are transforming From Becoming The Face Of South Africa's Triple Challenges. They Are Now Worthy Economic Warriors.
Last week, a private delivery vehicle travelled through one gravel road in the rural town of Nkandla to deliver a brand-new fridge to one household.
What was more interesting was the fact that this particular household that would receive the cooling appliance, managed to afford to buy one and, on top of that, pay for a private delivery vehicle to bring it home.
I better hasten to tell you that the fridge was not looted.
In fact, it was bought cash and not through a lay-by sale or credit purchase.
But please bear with me as I indulge you.
At the beginning of this month, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme(NSFAS) announced that by the end of last month, it had paid just under R1 billion to over 456 400 beneficiaries at public universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training(TVET) colleges.
The student financier said that this money was to cover the costs for student meals, learning material and transport.
So this household acquired a fridge it could not afford because someone, a woman I specify, decided to take her allowance and buy her mother a fridge. In its statement, NSFAS ‘’confidently’’ dismissed assertions that it had paid wrong or large amounts to students.
Therefore, I take it that this particular NSFAS beneficiary did not get money she did not deserve.
Here we have a young woman who, while still studying to broaden her knowledge, acquiring a much sought-after skill that would hopefully land her a decent job one day, used her allowance to assist her struggling family.
Now this family will be able to, like everyone else, store their food for longer periods using this technology.
They are different from everyone else who waited until someone in the family got a decent job to own a fridge.
Their daughter bought them one using her NSFAS allowance.
It is such women we ought to celebrate this Women's Day.
Such women refuse to see their families suffer from lack of the basic necessities just because they are impoverished.
It is usually said that the face of South Africa's triple challenges, unemployment, poverty and inequality is a black woman.
While, to a large extent, this may be true, South African women work really hard and smart to outgrow this description.
In them, we must no longer see mere victims of disenfranchisement in an economy that struggles to grow meaningfully.
In them, we should see very determined economic warriors who wage a just war against the ravaging effects of the lacklustre economy in their households.
Just like the more than 20 000 South African women of all races who marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the ‘’pass laws’’ back on 9 August 1956, today's women punch and kick against anything that makes them and their children the faces of a struggling economy.
I have no doubt that this current crop of women are following well in the footsteps of Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.
This current generation of women I call economic warriors, like their forebear freedom fighters, are fighting a major war under very tough circumstances.
The good news is that they are not losing.
And this is a testament to the fact that they know exactly what they are doing.
While in the past, it was known that behind every successful man, there is a woman, today, women are at the battlefield, fighting to better their country's economy.
While men may have been fighting this war for longer, the women regiment that may seem to have joined a bit later is proving to be a worthy reinforcement.
Their sacrifice, combined with their diligent impact, is fast becoming a powerful legend that will continue to inspire many generations to come.
The mother of this woman who bought a fridge with her NSFAS allowance was so surprised that she was brought to tears. I believe she would, if she had not done so already, tell everyone dear to her how grown up her daughter had become. Other women would commend her for clearly being a good mother to a very good daughter.
South Africa owes it to such women to grow its economy, develop as a society, and create a prosperous livelihood. Women have also proved to be a worthy hand in this very great task, that we can no longer leave them behind nor ignore them.
They have their own way of bridging the gap between the country’s affluent boardrooms and the kitchens that fall far short of the R5 081,94 July 2023 Household Affordability Index mark.