Malebohang Phaqane -Senekane Council COE

Malebohang Phaqane -Senekane Council COE

Date: July 1, 2015
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Malebohang Phaqane was elected and joined the Senekane-Berea council. Since the time she came into office, she had not thought deeply about gender issues. This is until she met with Gender Links staff, who gave her a better understanding of gender. From then on, she understood the importance of gender issues in her work. Like other women in politics who contested elections as women, she took that as an opportunity for herself; she did not think or take it as a way to compete with men. She always thought that men are their decision makers.

Malebohang Phaqane met with Gender Links in 2012 during COE workshop, which impacted her life, and changed the way she thought of gender. Besides being a councillor, Malebohang has changed her own way of life, and that of the people that she lives with in her community. She has formed a support group in which they plan to support the orphans in her community and give jobs to the unemployed villagers to take care of the children and the farms. Malebohang is a very hard working councillor as she has touched and reached the hearts of the poor and neglected children in the community.

Since 2012, Malebohang has learned to have a different outlook from the one she had before she met Gender Links. She did not think that helping the orphans and the needy was her responsibility until she had to work for the council. There she met with Gender Links, where she was trained on things concerning gender as a whole, especially concerning gender based violence which was seen as a fashion in the villages. Gender Links has given Malebohang a different mindset for thinking about gender. She makes sure that everything that Gender Links has trained her on, she puts in practice. Some of the things were not easy to do, such as to engage with men on gender issues. This was especially difficult since she was a woman, and making the men understand was difficult.

Malebohang Phaqane really took the training by Gender Links as a learning journey; she never thought that she could be responsible for a certain number of kids who now depend on her for food. She also took this as a lesson. She has changed many people’s thinking, as she is a living example for the community because she provides for the needy. All this has changed because the way people think now is different; there is progress, especially with men. When she holds meetings or village gatherings, men are no longer negative. They understand better.

Gender Links has its hands extended, because even when they are not in the communities, people still hear of gender issues. Training the councillors has been a very excellent idea, because they have more meetings with their villagers, and are able to talk more on gender issues, and even extend the message to the rural areas. Gender Links and its staff have given her a very good lesson concerning gender. Councillors are people with varied educational backgrounds, and some did not go to school at all. She appreciated that Gender Links was patient with councillors, and worked with them all until they developed a different picture of gender.

Malebohang has learned that men and women have to be treated in the same way; men do not necessarily need to be only the decision makers in the family, including in political matters where they always thought that leaders should be men. She also learned to do activities concerning the 16 days of activism against gender based violence. She has also been inspired to help raise money to send the poor and needy orphans in the community to school. Malebohang has also learned to speak to people more assertively, and how to engage with a wider variety of people. She has developed many ideas since she worked with Gender Links, and seeing the needy children forced her to use her piece of land to plant some food stuff for them and give a few people some work.

What Gender Links does for people is an excellent idea, which can never be taken away; it stays with them, and people such as Malebohang who live an exemplary life, will learn lessons from Gender Links. Malebohang plans on including more people in her work, and teach young people, especially those who are not educated, to plant so that they have a means of living.

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