The strength of our women, as mothers, caregivers and a force to be reckoned with was personified at a Cape Times breakfast on Tuesday.
Held at the Artscape Theatre Centre, its chief executive Marlene le Roux, the guest of honour, was not present, still grieving the death of her son Adam.
He died at the age of 15 last Friday. He had cerebral palsy, couldn’t talk and was bound to a wheelchair, requiring 24-hour care. Le Roux personally cared for him, refusing to compromise the quality of his life because of his disability.
The breakfast brought together women from all walks of life and in keeping with the ethos of the Cape Times, the breakfast provided a bridge within and between communities and bridged the gap between genders and generations.
In Le Roux’s sadness, her strength as a mother and woman was honoured.
In her speech, read on her behalf she expressed empathy for mothers who, unlike her, could not afford excellent medical care and do not have strong support systems.
She said: “The journey of being a woman, disabled, being black and from a rural area is totally different to becoming a mother with a child with a disability.
“So many women lose their jobs because the workplace does not understand what this mother must go through. Even in applying for help from government or life insurances or medical aids, doors close.
“I realised that… the woman on the Cape Flats in the township does not have that support. ”
And even in her grief she held institutions to account for their failures, with harsh words for ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini, saying it would seem as if the league are allowing themselves to be used as proxies to protect Jacob Zuma, instead of advancing women’s rights.
“While at times, for thousands of women the “New” Struggle seems insurmountable as South Africa finds itself within a negative outlook climate, aluta - must – continua,” We extend our condolences to Marlene and we thank her for the brave mother she is.
We salute the mothers of our nation like Marlene.
iol / 29 AUGUST 2017