As the country is observing Women’s Month, women in QwaQwa in the Free State still have little to celebrate as they continue to struggle for water. The water crisis in their area has been ongoing for more than a decade.

Earlier this year, the community staged a week-long shutdown demanding running water.

Overburdened by constant power and water outages, residents of QwaQwa continue to live under difficult conditions. The burden falls more on women in the area as they carry the responsibility of doing household chores and ensuring good hygiene practices are followed during the current global pandemic.

The residents say the battle for water has been ongoing for far too long. Some have shared their frustrations.

We are walking long distances to fetch water. Even this emergency pipes … they do close them and sometimes when they open them we get dirty water. And as students we suffer,” says one student.

“Here in our street, we don’t have water and we travel a long distance to come here to fetch water and we can’t even do our homework and read because we help our mothers to come here and fetch water,” says another.

“Water is essential and water is life and we need water for the sake of our children at school. Because time and again, they suppose to wash their hands to prevent,” says one resident.

Mmapaseka Rafisa runs a small business in the area and says businesses continue to suffer losses as they cannot operate optimally without running water.

Most of the time, we don’t have water. We want to cook and wash our hands and everything. So, we can’t do anything without water.”

While women across the country will be celebrating Women’s Day, many women in rural areas will have little to no time to celebrate as their struggle for water continues.

Women in rural areas continue to face daily struggles: