Phindile Mabuza – Swaziland

Phindile Mabuza – Swaziland


Date: July 1, 2015
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Gender Links has made me change my personal values regarding gender issues. I am now empowered, and I have changed my attitudes. When doing things, I am now gender sensitive and I have a gender eye.

I am employed by the Government of the Kingdom of eSwatini as a Secretary, currently stationed at Vuvulane Town Board. Due to the expansion of this job, I find myself working as part of the management.

I have attended Gender Links workshops several times and have benefited a lot. I have even changed my life emotionally, physically, physiologically, and socially. In my experience since I began working with Gender Links, there are no negative encounters except that I wasn’t able to participate in the Cyber Dialogue this year.

Gender Links’ trainings have opened my eyes, and also raised awareness in me. On issues of the Rights of Women and Children, I am concerned, and trying to enshrine gender equality in all areas at home and at work places. Gender Links encouraged me never to rely on a person, especially men, simply because they in turn use their power over you. One is not independent financially. Long ago, women were not able to voice out their concerns because their husbands would beat them. We were not able to stand for election in parliament or in any leadership positions. We were denied access to education culturally, because they would leave their homes for marriage. It was discovered that there is no need for education for a girl child because it was understood that as she grows up, her husband would take care of her and their children. Women never took decisions on their own without consulting to their spouses. They were always treated as minors by their spouses, regardless of their age. Yet a man is allowed to have as many wives as he can, even while some men have failed even to provide for their families.

I give credit to Gender Links, who has widened my eyes and thinking about all sorts of abuse experienced by both women and children in day to day activities. The organisation has made me realize that there is life a woman can live without relying anyone else. Gender Links has changed me from the negative ideas I had before about the Rights of Women, Children and the Disabled. Now I see the importance of promoting gender equality; it can help change many people, and end abuse.

Ncane Maziya is the person at Gender Links specifically responsible for this change. She is my mentor and she inspires me when we share jokes and stories. She used to say “never lose hope,” even if you were once a victim of rape. Furthermore, never ever depend on a person because she or he will cause stress for you. Rather stand up for yourself.” She encourages us to campaign for elections, because it’s our right.

I have gained the confidence to stand up for my rights, especially when a person tries to infringe my rights. I am now gender sensitive, and I have learned to respect other people regardless of sex, age, religion and nationality. I am now able to make decisions on my own, without consulting anyone, and I am also able to speak in public meetings.

Moreover, now I am a free spirited person, because I know my children would not experience the difficulties I had gone through. Evidence of this is that I am also a care worker in my community, and I have people who come to ask for help on gender issues directly to me.

Furthermore, I am a survivor of abuse. I was abused for a long period of time, but finally I managed to stop the abuse at home and at work. My church has also been a source of inspiration. They played a role in the change in my life. We normally have meetings with other church members, where we help each one of us through encouragement as well as sharing testimonies and stories. There are no other organizations that I source the personal enrichment from, apart the knowledge and skills I sourced from Gender Links. At both a home level and societal level, I have beneficiaries who have come fourth to seek advice and assistance in terms of gender equality and HIV/AIDS. These impact different aspects of our lives, and it involves my sisters, brothers, colleagues, friends and in-laws.

All the people who have come to seek help from me are now gender sensitive and able to observe other people’s rights, especially rights for children and people with right. If I were in a management positions in terms of policy making, I would review all the RIGHTS of children, women and people with disabilities. I would enforce gender equity in all sectors, and make sure all people are treated equally regardless of age and sex. I would advocate for change. People must be up rooted from the negative values they have towards women’s rights and equal opportunities for everyone.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity and thank the whole Gender Links team for their commitment in widening our eyes as women. We must never allow ourselves to be abused by men, and together we must advocate for change.

 


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