Johannesburg - Elderly women were taught about their rights in marriages, free of charge.
They gathered at the Constitution Hill in Braamfontein where the Pro Bono Women’s Day event was held. The theme of the event was 'Customary marriages'.
The Pro Bono organisation has been moving from one community to the next, giving legal advice to pensioners and middle-aged women.
“We realised that 85% of them do not know how to handle legal matters thus the amazing idea to offer legal services pro bono in their home languages was devised so that every individual could understand,” said Nomaswazi Malinga the organiser of the event and head of family law department.
Sibongile Baloyi, acting director at UNISA law clinic, said she was glad to share her knowledge on customary marriage.
She made an example by drawing attention to the recent event of The Queen soapie where women were fighting over their husband's inheritance.
“That is real. If the deceased’s death certificate says he was not married, then he was not. It is so sad that our parents do not have this information, hence I am glad to be giving this kind of advice,” said Baloyi.
The South African Historical Archive (SAHA) representative Nobukhosi Zulu, said she was surprised by how much the elderly were interested in knowing their rights.
She said about 73% of the women lose everything they have obtained in the marriage due to a lack of knowledge.
“I am glad to have this opportunity because as a non-governmental organisation, it is hard to reach out to everyone but a great opportunity to have them come to us,” added Zulu.
According to her, 90% of the people present seemed to have more interest in the subject of title deeds because they have lost houses.
The Teddy Bear Clinic's Joseline Nkwana said that they take care of abused kids aged between 3 and 18 years.
She also said they helped them prepare for court and give them hope and the courage to trust again by giving them teddy bears for free. According to her, this also helps the uneducated elderly deal with abuse matters legally.
Legal Aid South Africa for justice and Dobsonville Human Rights Advice Office DHRA were also present.
All the speakers hailed the event as a success as the pro bono organisation managed to execute their mandate to give legal advice. However, some of the clients were disappointed as their expectations were not met.
Phumzile Linda said: “I am uncomfortable because I have been referred to another place yet I was ready to open up and solve my house issue with the consultant”.