Jane Bambo – South Africa

Jane Bambo – South Africa

Date: July 1, 2015
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Gender Links is an organization that makes it a point that the rights of women are represented in a justifiable way. Whatever the authorities have signed and committed themselves to in parliament, Gender Links makes sure it happens. Gender Links is an organisation which is there to empower women, and ever since my contact with the organization, I also want to take the lead in empowering women. Gender Links is a civil society organization and not a government department, and yet it goes all over and makes such a huge impact.

Bravo! Ntombi has really made an impact in Polokwane where she has been trying her level best. She listens to the women and takes their ideas into account. Her presence at the “Take back the night” March showed her commitment,. Sometimes I ask myself when the Gender Links staff find so much energy to do their work.

Initially, I did not know there was someone behind me supporting and recognising my work, until I came in contact with Gender Links in 2011. The National Crime prevention strategy was developed 2006; this strategy arose after recognising that victims of Gender Based Violence had limited support available to them. Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) centres were established, and the Kusuleka One Stop centre was one of the first VEP Centres to be established in the Limpopo Province. The Kusuleka centre in the province assists with VEP and also providing support to GBV survivors.

In July 2011, I attended a Gender Links workshop which was being hosted by the Polokwane Local Municipality. I received the invitation to attend the workshop from Naledi Masipa, the Gender Focal Person from Capricorn District Municipality. This is where I learned about the SADC Gender protocol, and the different targets and thematic areas. Now I am much more open, and I also realised that it is not only about the centre anymore or even Polokwane, but about Southern Africa.

I got a bigger picture, and also a better understanding of how my daily work actually should be dealing with the SADC protocol targets. The introduction to the cyber dialogues was also very welcomed; I found the process very empowering. Through the Cyberdialogue I was able to connect with other people across the SADC Region. The cyber dialogues were a light bulb moment for me, because they broadened my mind. Suddenly everything made sense; especially what I read in the media and how I related to media stories and commentaries.

Since I made contact with Gender Links, I feel more than a woman. I came in contact with my sense of womanhood and want to represent women everywhere, to stand up for women in public spaces as well as in private. The skills I learned at the Gender Links workshop have helped me in my workplace, and the information I learned took me back to what I learned at University as a social worker. Learning about gender based violence and also the impact GBV has on our communities made me realise the importance of the work I am doing. I think this also helped me in terms of the post prophylaxis that is offered at the centre. Last year Gender Links hosted a workshop where we were taught by Ntombi about campaigns, advocating and lobbying. This assisted us at the Kusuleka Centre, as we had also been planning for our 16 Days of Activism activities.

Jeanette Motaung, a GBV survivor, shared passionately how her contact with Jane and the Kusuleka centre transformed her life. “On the 2 July 2012, I was admitted to the Kusuleka Care home. I was in a bad state and very traumatized; I couldn’t even speak properly. I was welcomed by the team members at Kusuleka; they were very friendly and very supportive, understanding the situation I was in. I had a psycho analysis session with Mam’ Jane and do not know how this session worked, because I felt dead inside, but through working with Mam’ Jane I was able to find healing. I had a chance to talk about everything that was happening in me. I even had the strength to start talking openly about the experiences that I have been through.”

The learning I have received from Gender Links has helped me with my work at the organization and has further built a foundation, or a reflective mirror to see myself and where I am going. The interactions have revived my knowledge and passion, and in many aspects through the empowerment of women, revived my profession. I got all this knowledge through my degree; I paid for my degree, but not the enlightenment I received for free from Gender Links.

The Kusuleka centre is not yet complete; it is still a work in progress. We have many volunteers, but we need more things which will make it user friendly. Although our clients are survivors, they should be able to take control of their lives, plough back into the community and generate their own income from here. I hope to have the opportunity to continue helping survivors of GBV within the Limpopo province, and also just continue to grow spiritually, and continue to be an advocate for those who are vulnerable and marginalised.





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