Actress Nomzamo Mbatha says women continue to be marginalised.  Mbatha was speaking at the Isithunzi Sabafazi dialogue hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus. The event is part of Nelson Mandela’s centenary celebrations. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey was the main speaker of the day.

Mbatha says women across the country are still facing discrimination.

“It (being a woman) means to be stronger than what we think strength is, it means to be more resilient than what we think resilience is. It means to use our voices to be agents of change.”

She says women will continue to fight against being prejudiced.

“No more will we allow to be marginalised, of course we have patriarchy and misogamy to speak on behalf of us, and we say no more, we say, we want change.”

One of issues that speakers at even focussed on is the role of men in combating violence against women and children.

Political Analyst Ayesha Kajee says men need not be silent on the matter.

“Whenever a man hears a comment that is sexist, that puts women, that says it is okay to abuse women, whether it is physically or financially, or sexually or emotionally… whenever one man hears another saying that he should stand up and reprimand, rebut it, he should say that that is not alright to talk like that, it is not alright to behave like that.”

Kajee stresses that gender based violence has to combated in every way possible.

“It was an important even to re energise, re-motivate young people in this country to stand up against gender violence. We have had some very interesting initiatives recently, and I think having Oprah here, as Mama Machel said, brought a focus to not just the “MeToo” movement – but the whole stand up against gender violence movement, saying that it is not just the 16 days of activism that we need to be concerned about, but really gender violence is such a scourge in our communities that we need to be combating it in every way we can.”


Click below to watch the dialogue: