Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, honoured Justice Leona Theron, Dr Brigalia Bam and Dr Lillian Dube during a Women’s Day commemoration at the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in Pretoria on 23 August 2019. Other important quests included, amongst others, Ms Tonique Phala, Ms Mary Twala and Ms Judith Sephuma.
“Like all iconic women, let us rise and take other women along with us. Let a diploma not be the limit. Better yourself and rather let the sky be the limit. The DBE offers bursaries and training for female officials to embrace lifelong learning,” the Minister challenged. “The DBE Women’s Day celebration is an annual institution to reaffirm our roles and responsibility as women in education; a priority sector lead by important and dedicated women doing important work,” Minister Motshekga concluded, expressing her appreciation for the contribution made by women in the DBE.
Justice Leona Theron, Judge in the Constitutional Court, was the first black woman judge to be appointed to the bench in 1999, aged 33, in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court. Justice Theron spoke about the 1956 Women’s March, reminding women that, “if you strike a woman, you strike a rock. Your attitude will determine your altitude; rise and become who you want to be. This generation and future generations can achieve so much more than we did. I call upon you to become torch bearers with a vision to leave a legacy and contribute to a larger vision of educating future leaders. Our number one priority should be education, as it is a passport for, and a passport to change”.
Dr Brigalia Bam has become a respected personality to South Africans as the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa and her distinguished contribution to the upliftment of women and to democracy-building in the country. “We need to create space for dialogue, especially with young woman as part of intergenerational dialogue about motherhood, teenage pregnancy, sexuality and morality. Adopt a young women and nurture her; teach her about the importance of language, tradition, culture and reading. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of education for us to be respected as educated women and scholars moving towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Ms Sizakele Mile from the DBE rendered an inspirational poem about being strong, independent women. The annual Women’s Day commemoration is organised by Ms Thandi Khoza and her competent team from the Training and Social Responsibility Directorate.