Women encouraged to support each other

Susan Swartz, left, from Kuils River, won a blanket. She is pictured with Epilepsy SA regional director Wendy Nefdt.

About 50 women from all walks of life heard about the power of sisterhood during Epilepsy SA’s Women’s Day event in Lansdowne, last Thursday.

Aneesah Seale, who owns That Cake Shop in Bonteheuwel, told how her self-confidence had taken a knock after she picked up weight. She said she had felt the pressure society puts on women to be thin.

“I lost weight and I picked weight up again and I am satisfied with that. I look good for myself and I feel confident about what I am.”

Ms Seale opened her coffee shop six months ago when she realised women in her community needed job opportunities.

She said she had loved baking since childhood and had often visited the bakery her father had worked at.

“I remember my mom would always make this strawberry cake topped with jam and coconut, which we loved. Now I have empowered four women in my community.”

She encouraged women to lift each other up instead of bringing each other down.

“We all start from the bottom, but we must support each other. I realised that I am beautiful the way I am, and we shouldn’t care about what the next person says.”

Epilepsy SA regional director Wendy Nefdt said women had proven their resilience time and again and they should unite to support each other.

“We bounce up and down, but we come out on top. Women motivate each other. Having someone close to you and acknowledging you and listening to you is important.

“Sisterhood is what keeps us going, and we must use our talents to help each other so that we can leave our challenges behind and move forward.”

But women’s struggles would continued, she warned, “as long as there is rape, murder, and other crime”.

Sandra, whose surname cannot be published for security reasons, is from Sisters Incorporated, a home for destitute women and children who have experienced trauma in their lives.

She said that for years she had been taunted because of her large breasts.

“Now I am able to walk around with pride and be proud of my bust size. I am confident, and I know I no longer have to be ashamed of it.”

Melanie, also from Sisters Incorporated, told how while working at a male-dominated security firm her ideas and professionalism had been ignored; only her choice of clothing had been noticed.

“I started dressing down in order not to stand out, and after that, I moved to another company where I experienced the same thing. Now I dress for me, to feel good about myself. I wear make-up and I dress up because I can do it. I am learning to be more confident.”