Youth Day seminar promotes empowering school girls

Ukhozi Girls Organisation CEO Nqobile Hobane, Mona-Lisa Msime, Zona Mabuto and Buren High School teacher Shamini Govender.

More than 100 schoolgirls attended a Youth Day seminar in Joe Slovo where motivational speakers urged them to chase their dreams, get a good education and have confidence in their bodies.

The seminar, held at Sinenjongo High School, is an annual event organised by the Ukhozi Girls’ Organisation. The first one was held last year.

The organisation’s CEO, Nqobile Hobane said this year’s event was bigger and better than the first and had seen more pupils and schools taking part.

“My vision was also to bring together girls from various backgrounds so as to show them that they have more in common than they think. I feel that we achieved that this time,” she said.

Shamini Govender is a teacher at Buren High School and she brought girls from her school to the seminar.

“We had a lot of interest from our pupils when we told them about this event. I really love what Nqobile has done with this organisation. This is a great way for these girls to interact, learn from each other and motivate one another,” she said.

Businesswoman Yolanda Mabuto was also at the seminar.

“I wanted to support Nqobile’s vision because I am very passionate about the development of girls. I believe in her vision and I believe in these girls,” she said.

“On the other side of the spectrum, I would like us to also focus on the development of young boys as well. We want to create a partnership between men and women and not competition between the two,” said Ms Mabuto.

Zona Mabuto, 19, and Mona-Lisa Msime, 20, spoke to the girls about their menstrual cycles.

“This has become such a taboo topic and girls are too shy to speak about this topic. We wanted to create a space where they can speak out,” said Zona.

Mona-Lisa added: “Being on your period is such a bad time of the month because you are going through quite a lot but you still have to be yourself and do things.

“We want young girls to not think of themselves as less or they can’t do what guys can just because of what is happening to their bodies.” At last year’s seminar, Tabletalk spoke to Maliviwe Ndyalvane (“Helping girls to fly on eagles’ wings,” Tabletalk, June 21, 2017). She was 17 at the time and doing matric at Sinenjongo.

This year Maliviwe will be studying hospitality at Northlink.

“I came back to assist this year because Ukhozi helped me so much and I want to do the same for younger girls who were in my shoes,” she said.