Mary Morolong – South Africa


Date: November 13, 2015
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There is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel

“I am now able to put food on the table for my children and I have more confidence in myself and the future looks brighter than before”

I was 18 years old when I got married. It was a customary marriage where lobola was paid and I was sent off to stay with my in-laws. Clouded by love, I was willing to do everything for the sake of my marriage. I went to the Gender Links workshop and I was keeping up this “perfectly married” look and other women would envy me. To me I was keeping up appearances and that was what I was supposed to do as a properly married traditional woman.

When I joined the training I was a member of the ward community and I did not know that emotional abuse and economic abuse counted as gender violence. I thought that because I did not have any scars to show I was ok. I joined the Gender Links programme last year and attended all the phases. Most of these were very helpful, educating us about entrepreneurship and being able to take charge of our lives and have the knowledge to manage a business.

My biggest challenge was that I was unemployed for years but I have now started a business doing food gardening. I was just a house wife and now I am involved in the projects that are happening in my community. I am now able to put food on the table for my children and I have more confidence in myself and the future looks brighter than before. I hope that my business will succeed.

The training has helped me to get where I am today and the council has assisted me by give our community a small piece of land where we grow our vegetables. I experienced physical and emotional abuse from my husband but now things are better than before, although I wish we could live in peace in my house and he would treat me as his equal partner.

I have seen a lot of change in my community and the community sees the change in me. Previously, I was just a house wife who was sitting at home waiting for her husband to come back from work to abuse me and now I am taking charge of my life. I am my own woman now and by doing this I have influenced about 20 women and men in my community to join me in the food gardening project. At least we are not sitting around with nothing to do, now we have food for our families and we also sell the produce.

 


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