The Cape Town Hindu Seva Samaj celebrated National Women’s Day with a high chai (High tea) at the Samaj Centre in Gatesville last Wednesday, when they left the audience with an important message: “Women must take back their communities.”
Guest speaker, Anne Siroky, voted Shoprite Checkers SABC2 Woman of the Year for Sport in 2007, addressed the crowd.
At the age of 37, Ms Siroky was South Africa’s number one beach volleyball player. After sustaining a back injury in 2001 she retired from the sport and started a career in coaching and mentoring the youth.
The former Manenberg resident then started The Future Factory through which she goes around to schools and teaches sports skills including volley ball coaching. The programme has since spread to over 30 schools in the province.
Ms Siroky, 57, said that parents need to spend more time with their children by playing and having fun with them as it helps with their motor skills. She said that a simple object such as a ball which can be thrown and caught helps children tremendously.
She encouraged the guests to give more of themselves to society. She said she has become who she is because of the community which helped to mould her.
“Every time we give we need to receive something but people don’t realise that when you give you receive so many blessings because you gave out of love,” she said.
She said that back in the day you could ask your neighbour for some sugar now they chase you away. Growing up in Manenberg, she said that the ethos of giving was instilled in her at a young age.
One of the schools where she works at is Rosmead Central Primary School in Claremont. She said that because of the area people assume that the school is well off but they aren’t.
“I see how parents struggle with their children every day and the kids travel from far to get to school.”
Every second month she said that school sponsors a pupil with a pair of shoes and clothing.
“Giving starts at home. Sometimes we look all glamorous but we don’t even have food at home. Women need to take back societies and stop sitting on the fence and wondering if it will happen, reach out,” she said.
Ms Siroky who now stays in Schaapkraal, has been a cancer survivor for 14 years and lost two children to the disease. She now volunteers at the Cancer Association of South Africa.
She challenged each woman to reach out, adopt a project and make a change. She also encouraged women to stop pretending to be happy but to actually be happy.
“Be the first to make a move because everything starts there, we need to nourish our homes. We need to get back into our backgrounds and experience those things again. Make people feel loved in your presence,” she said.
She also encouraged women to take care of themselves and to listen to their bodies.
“If you don’t take care of yourselves you can’t do acts of kindness,” she said.
Kavita Vassen-Bhoobun, coordinator of the event, said that it was important to celebrate women and create an opportunity for people to get together and connect with each other.
“Today they could relax and chat and be inspired because life is so fast. It’s important to celebrate women as they don’t realise how strong they are. When we do we sit back and reflect on how much we actually do,” she said.
She added that the aim of the event was for women to recognise their worth.