Swaziland: Councillor Makhosazane Shongwe

Date: September 17, 2018
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 “She doesn’t let past failures interfere with the future” 

Shongwe’s  first encounter with GL was in 2010 where they came in Ngwenya town board to teach them about gender issues and what they really know about gender and the introduction of the 16 days of activism campaign in a workshop. Makhosazane Shongwe is a passionate woman working towards change of each and every women, men, girls and boys. She is a mother of four children. She is from a developing Municipality, Ngwenya Town Board. She a Councillor who work towards seeing residents living a good social life and economical sound. She don’t let failures of the past interfere with the future that’s her motto.  

Makhosazane’s work is to develop the Ngwenya Community in social concerns like health, education, economical, food and other relevant basic needs for human beings.  This has responsibilities to measure if the target is reached and if there is a positive improvement in each one’s life. She empowers young people to be independent not to rely on their boyfriend or fathers. She also take care of the poor children who are not able to go to school due to lack of resources by providing them assistance. 

Makhosazane have achieved overtime to understand more on gender issues. She has attended a number of workshops and also worked on projects at Town level that were carried out by World Bank. She now understand more on community engagement and accountability as this is part of her department. The community has achieved to get services within reach, they now have basics skills on business. Moreover, they are now able to increase their economy through income generating projects by means of getting aid from her and other associates that are helping to bring change in communities. 

She first met with Gender Links in a meeting which was held in Ngwenya where she was taught that you can enter as a politician with the aim of wanting to help just your community or town with the skills that you have acquired. Gender Links helped her by opening her mind that she shouldn’t focus only on what she need to do but also try to provide for the people that have chosen her to be their leader. Following the first meeting, Shongwe then also attended other workshops by Gender Links, where they were taught about how to start a business as women and how to stand up for yourself and stop relying on the males.  

This meeting helped her to acquire knowledge about being independent. As she continued attending the summits which are held local and regionally it has helped her to learn things from other people who are also taking part in the summits. As presentations takes place the exchange of ideas and getting a chance to pick some of the ideas that she can use or be helpful in her life or town has made a difference in her life. 

Makhosazane is making a great impact in one’s life, she supports the youth which is interested in playing games by providing them with the kits that they need for their games and she sometimes give them money for transport when they are going to play in far grounds. She is able to help the kids with the assistance she gets from different individuals. She has had worst experience when she had to help the society, the people do not treat her well they think she is trying to make fun of their situations instead of accepting the assistance she is trying to provide them with and people talking behind her back about negative things.  

Shongwe has learned that when you are working with people you need to be patient at all times and be free spirited never take things personally since as they are different the way they think or do things will not be the same so at times they need to agree to disagree and continue with the work. GL has helped to broaden her mind hence it has opened her eyes. She has learned that as a woman you need to use your hands you may not have money but the little things that are around you can make a difference in your life. She also learned the importance of handicrafts and how women are surviving through the use of their hands. She also learned about the importance of starting your own business and how to manage it. 

As she is a mother and wife this has also made her want to help more young people and women in the community because she believes that if she can share what she knows to other people it can make a huge difference in the community. People from the community and the likes of Benjamin Msane and Thobile Dlamini have helped her to bring change. The community during meetings also voice out their issues or challenges that they want the town to tackle this make her job to be much easier than having individuals showing up in her home and this make her see that the community believe in her or they are seeing the change she is making. She is inspired by the work that Minister of works, Lindiwe Dlamini is doing and she wishes to follow on her steps in bring change to people. 

Makhosazane believes that it is her role to bring change in women by encouraging them to partake in elections so that they can be nominated and see how far they can go, as well when it comes to men she again believe that they need to also be there in election so that it can balance the gender. Since the manner in which men and women perceive things is not the same so by balancing the genders it will help when bringing in ideas. Change in one person’s live can influence the whole division or lot of people even if it’s positive or negative as long as that person is willing to bring change. Shongwe has bigger dreams and goals about herself she wishes that women should join in the elections even if she doesn’t win but her wish is to see women partaking in the  elections since she believes that women make a great impact in ones live.

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