Sibongile Masuku – Swaziland

Sibongile Masuku – Swaziland

Date: June 6, 2012
  • SHARE:

I have learned a lot of skills through connecting with Gender Links activities in my community. From the meetings I have attended I have learned new skills, especially business management and self-empowerment. Now I want to use these skills to make a difference in other women’s lives.

I am the chairperson of the Swaziland Lutsango-LwakaNgwane multipurpose cooperative limited in Mbabane. The cooperative came to life when local women realised that they could engage in projects that could help them earn an income outside formal employment.

Through participating in capacity building programmes rolled out in Swaziland by Gender Links, I gained a lot of confidence; this is now paying off in terms of the way our work has developed. Since Gender Links’ intervention, our cooperative of women has grown from singing and dancing at traditional events to rearing livestock, having poultry projects, farming, and creating handicrafts. Now, women have the option to save money in an education fund, which they access at the end of the year, so they can pay school fees for their children the next year.

We are planning to document the stories of women who paved the way to their own empowerment. Swazi women want to write a book to honor all the women who have played a crucial role of developing this group and all the individuals in it. There are a lot of women who have been at the forefront in terms of developing other women, and have made the cooperative what it is today. These date from way back to the time of Labotsibeni, to the current Queen Mother. There are other women like former Senators Bella Katamzi, Stella Lukhele, Nokukhanya Gamadze and the current leader of the regiment Aline Dlamini.

To be a member of our cooperative, everyone pays a joining fee of 30 emalangeni, with a subscription of 20 emalangeni every month. After six months, you qualify to take a loan which is double the amount of your savings. Everyone is also free to buy shares; they are 500 emalangeni. Cooperative members can also save up for entertainment, and this money is collectable at the end of the year.

Besides my efforts in uplifting women financially in my community, I also intend to start a campaign against human tracking in Swaziland. I think we need to sensitize young girls in our communities so that they do not get duped into human trafficking schemes which are becoming rampant in our country. This is part of women’s empowerment more broadly; it’s so important for us to empower girls so that they do not become over dependent on men when they get married.

The brutality of men on women is affecting development, and contributes to the many diseases women suffer from, like AIDS. Gender based violence is a real problem in our communities, and we must fight it on all fronts. Economic empowerment is one step in this direction. Gender Links’ contributions are very much felt in our community. The capacity building workshops have empowered women, and this has real results in all of our lives.


One thought on “Sibongile Masuku – Swaziland”

Thabisile says:

I am so interested to come and be with the group. I am a Zulu lady who wants to learn Swati mother’s surname is Masuku married to Mr Gumede.

Comment on Sibongile Masuku – Swaziland

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *