“I love seeing young people working the land to make a living. Many young people your age look down on agriculture ignoring the importance of food security.” Dr Bogopane-Zulu committed “I will try my level best to assist you where I can, and you must know I do not make promises I cannot keep”.
  • Deputy Minister’s Outreach: Dr Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister of Social Development, continued her outreach in Amajuba as part of her role as the champion of the District Development Model (DDM).
  • Engagement with Faith Leaders: The Deputy Minister facilitated discussions with Pastors’ Wives, influential leaders in various church denominations, focusing on social issues such as gender-based violence.
  • Personal Testimonies and Empowerment: Dr Bogopane-Zulu shared her personal story of overcoming challenges, encouraging the women to be agents of change in their communities and utilise departmental services to address social issues effectively.

Yesterday marked the sixth day of Dr Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister of Social Development in her capacity as the District Development Model champion’s (DDM) outreach in Amajuba.

The Department of Social Development works with a variety of stakeholders and Faith Based Organisations to help with addressing social ills including gender-based violence. It is in this context that the Deputy Minister facilitated robust engagement with Pastors’ Wives who occupy influential positions of leadership in their places of worship. Fifty women from different church denominations gathered at Newcastle Inn honouring an invite by the deputy minister.

Following various presentations by the officials from the department on different programmes that alleviate social ills in society and promote coherent family structures were heard. Dr Bogopane-Zulu opened the floor for robust discussions with the women present to speak about a number of issued that affect them.

Dr Bogopane-Zulu spoke of her own life, she spoke about how she was raped as a learner and how she had to fend for herself after her parents were disappointed that she fell pregnant as a sixteen years old. She spoke of how this experience could have changed her, “instead the painful experience propelled me to succeed and serve those less fortunate than me”.

The women were at first reluctant to share their personal stories. Until Nomosonto Galela* shared how she as a leader at her church had trusted a member of the church to look after her children when she was working night shifts while she was working as a nurse she tearfully recounted how her children had told her of the inhumane way they were treated when she was not at home. Mrs Galela said “I faced the most unkindness at church from women within the church who felt I was not good enough to be in a leadership position at church”.

More ladies agreed with the statement Mrs Nokuthula Mazibuko* emotionally spoke of when she was told by a senior female member of the church that she “ did not deserve to be the reverend’s wife” she further added that it was women in the church that are not supportive.

Counsellor Busisiwe Langa Deputy  Mayor of Dannhauser Local Municipality said “we are faced with so many challenges as women of faith, what we should do is support each other”.

Honourable Hlengiwe Mavimbela member of KwaZulu-Natal legislature spoke of her own life experiences. Mrs Mavimbela spoke of being faced with difficult situations in her political party and in church she said it was women who were at her aid during those difficult times. She encouraged women to support each other and be more compassionate.

Dr Bogopane-Zulu said “as pastors’ wives and female pastors you are not only mothers to your children but also all the children in your churches and communities” she persuaded the women to “listen to the children’s cries, you have heard what the department services are use this information in your churches and be agents of change. Do not turn a blind eye to the abuse or even worse advising women to stay in abusive relationships”.

“I want to see cooperatives in churches, you are already doing so much to feed the hungry, and care for the sick in your communities. The National Development Agency contributes to poverty eradication through Civil Society Organisation formalisation, capacity building and funding of organised groups that establish community enterprises that bring about economic transformation and job creation for and within communities. Sustainable livelihoods are derived when people gain employment and regular income, the department is here to help” said Dr Bogopane-Zulu.

Dr Bogopane-Zulu concluded her day by conducting an assessment visit at Langelihle Agriculture Primary Cooperative, that has been approved for  funding by the National Development Agency to the value of R324 139. The cooperative was established in 2016 by five young people from Utrecht in Emadlangeni Local Municipality. The cooperative specialises in piggery and vegetable production.

Sithembile Mthethwa chairperson of the cooperative said “we have harvested butternut and spinach and we are selling to the local community. We are on this 12 hectares of land that was allocated to us by Nduna Mazibuko who saw the potential of what we have started. I would like to thank the NDA for the support they have given us in formalising our cooperative and the training and support they have given us”.

“I love seeing young people working the land to make a living. Many young people your age look down on agriculture ignoring the importance of food security.” Dr Bogopane-Zulu committed “I will try my level best to assist you where I can, and you must know I do not make promises I cannot keep”.

Today Dr Bogopane-Zulu will visit Presbyterian Church in Madadeni, she will use the opportunity to remind and encourage the church about the importance of NPOs being compliant by submitting their documents.

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