Nkonyeni calls for the unity of divorced, separated and widowed women
28 Apr 2011
KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Speaker Neliswa Nkonyeni has called on the widowed, separated and divorced women to unite so that they can speak with one voice to lobby for their recognition and respect by the society.
She said widowed, separated and divorced women are discriminated against especially in rural communities where widows are sometimes forced to marry the brother of their deceased spouses – a practice known is isiZulu as 'ukungenwa'.
Nkonyeni was speaking at the Port Shepstone Civic Centre at the Summit for Widows, Separated and Divorced Women which was organised by Ugu District Municipality on Thursday.
“Despite a number of progressive laws that we, as the ANC led government, have promulgated to protect women; divorced, separated and widowed women are still discriminated against,” said Nkonyeni.
She said the number of divorced and widowed women was increasing as the result of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
About 500 women drawn from the Ugu District’s municipalities attended the summit. Most of the women were from the remote rural areas. Some told of the pain of being left by their husbands because they could not bear children while others told how they had to opt for divorce after years of abuse.
On the widowed women Nkonyeni said: “Only those who have lost a husband know what it is like to experience the overwhelming pain and sense of loss caused by being suddenly with their partner and the rock in which they and their children have always depended.”
Nkonyeni called on the widowed, separated and divorced women to unite so that they speak with one voice and lobby for their recognition as a group.
“The society may not know how to treat this group of women. Maybe this summit can come with the ways of broadening the net to set up a province-wide network of widowed, separated and divorced women which will speak with one voice to lobby for its recognition,” said Nkonyeni.
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Source: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Legislature
28 Apr 2011
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