Mlondi Dlamini – Swaziland

Mlondi Dlamini – Swaziland

Date: July 24, 2012
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Bucopho Mlondi Dlamini from Manzana is supportive of women in decision-making and local government in particular. Dlamini became a gender activist after he attended a gender workshop facilitated by Gender Links where his conscientisation on gender issues began.

“I support women to participate in local government because they want to see their communities being developed; unlike men who only want to drive their political agendas”. He has also taken his work on gender to communities, individual households and to churches in an attempt to preach the gospel of gender equality. He sees himself as someone who is enabling more women to participate in local government and in general.

Dlamini participated in the “Vote for a Woman” Campaign, leading up to the September 2008 elections. He recalls that before the campaign, there was very little activity and excitement about the elections. “Women knew their place; when elections came, all they needed to do was to go and vote for men.” In some cases women did not exercise their rights and were even being told who to vote for.

He applauds the idea of the campaign because prior to this there were no other initiatives to sensitise women and educate them about elections, gender issues and the Constitution. According to Dlamini the campaign achieved some positive results because a lot of women decided to stand for elections, with the result that Swaziland now has more female Bucopho, whereas before there were none.

The campaign revealed the extent to which women felt disconnected and uninformed about some of these statutes intended to benefit them, such as the Constitutional provisions on gender equality.

Dlamini points to some of the challenges during the campaign period, including:
o The campaign started too late and needs in future to run over a longer time frame.
o The campaign would have benefitted from the involvement of more men as they would have engaged directly with men in communities.
o Material (t-shirts and posters) were limited.
o The design of the posters had the unintended consequence of alienating some women; for example, women in traditional attire may have been misconstrued to as targeting only certain types of women. Also, there was only one man who appeared; leading to the Vote for Women Campaign being seen as only a woman’s issue.


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