Women from different areas in the Langeberg region commemorated Women’s Day by coming together and raising their voices.
In a small town called Rawsonville, more than one hundred women, mostly farm workers and farm dwellers, gathered to commemorate Women’s Day and talk about the daily circumstances they go through. The women came from different areas including Robertson, Ashton-Zolani, Worcester, Le Chasseur, Montague and Montague Koo and Rawsonville. The Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA)arranged the Speak Out.
“As women, we have truly little to celebrate. We cannot be happy while millions of women and children are going to bed hungry. Women still are marginalized when it comes to access to land with water.” says Denia Jansen from RWA.
This year marks 10 years since the farm workers uprising in the Western Cape. Farm workers, especially women, came together to say ‘enough is enough’. The strike first started in De Doorns, but quickly spread to other towns. But farm workers still earn just enough to survive from hand to mouth and still without access to land.
Ma Olga, a single mother of five who works as a health worker in her community said, “freedom for me is just a word. It has no meaning for us who are poor. After 25 years I still stay in a shack with my five children and we have almost no access to water and sanitation.”
In 2014, RWA launched the ONE WOMAN – ONE HECTARE campaign to ensure that women have access to at least one hectare of land with water to grow food. “If women have access to land, it will create opportunities for families to grow their own food and sell it at local markets and shops. Access to land for food can also help women’s independence, especially for women living in abusive relationships” Denia explained.
The rest of the day was spent planning and preparing how to take the campaign forward so that the women could each access a hectare of land, with water. “We must go to the municipalities and ask for a hectare. If we don’t ask, we won’t get!” said Denia.