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Letters to the editor: September 16 to 22 2016

Women make their mark

After reading Sisonke Msimang’s article My journey of reading women, writing as a woman and growing a wide heart, I thought long and hard.

I was inspired by the piece, so I want to share some of the things I have learnt in my writing as a teenager and being a communicative, extroverted young female.

I am a communication studies student at the University of Limpopo and have been writing since my primary school years as a way of communicating and expressing myself.

I ask myself: How important is it for women to realise and acknowledge that they can thrive in the communications world – or any other industry, for that matter?

Galileo Galilei said: “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”

And this is what I’m fighting for – the female empowerment gospel.

My dream is to see women and girls leading the world. We need to break the stereotype that women are not capable of leading. They need to be given a chance and the benefit of the doubt by society.

Recently Parliament appointed public protector Thuli Madondela’s successor, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Within a day of her appointment, there were critics shouting about her capability.

Is this the type of society we have become? Do we question other people’s success, based on gender? Are we questioning whether she’s qualified enough to hold office, or are we questioning the fact that she’s a woman about to take up a powerful position in society? What happened to giving a human being a chance?

We should be cheering. We should be willing to assist her in achieving her mission. Showing compassion and support should be our responsibility.

We should be grateful and proud that the journey of women becoming pioneers in communications, the law, the media and other industries is proceeding every day.

It’s high time girls and women were recognised by the media for their potential and not simply as sex objects.

Being respected and taken seriously, however, is a two-way street. Girls and women, too, need to start taking themselves seriously and not allow themselves to be taken for granted.

You need to know your capabilities, your worth, and believe in yourself. And we young people need to bear in mind that beauty is not forever – but brains are.

Young girls can be leaders; they can be the communication pioneers of tomorrow, not only publicity gimmicks. Women need to be granted the opportunity to thrive. They do not need to be discouraged and pulled down; they do not need to be reminded that they are “just” women. – Relotegile Malepe

Use out-of-work engineers to save water

We need to separate the issues of drought and potable water availability (Time to wake up and start saving water). The former is an act of God; the latter is humanmade.

South Africa has almost 2 000 unemployed engineers and 98% of them are African.

Instead of using these young engineers to manage water resources and harness naturally occurring raw water (spring protection, managing catchment areas, etcetera), huge water-related projects are given through tenders to a select few unqualified politicians.

Change that and then we won’t have any problems with potable water availability.

The Middle East and other desert countries that have limited water resources have no problem with potable water availability. Why? They use their engineers effectively. – Thulani Ngcobo, Midrand

More on Krotoa and pre-1913 land claims

For those interested in important primary material on Krotoa (Haunted by spirit of Krotoa), it is worth reading the three-volume English translation of the Journal of Jan Van Riebeeck, edited by Hendrik B Thom (published in Cape Town and Amsterdam by AA Balkema for the Van Riebeeck Society, 1952).

There is a great deal of detail here and Krotoa has a substantial presence.

There is much else in these three volumes to interest a wide range of South African readers.

The journal records – day after day after day – the presence of the indigenous peoples of the Cape, their many cattle and their eloquent arguments concerning a symbiotic relationships with their cattle and land.

There is also plenty of material here on which to base some solid pre-1913 land claims. – Professor Gerald O West, University of KwaZuluNatal

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