Wonder of women

Wynberg Girls Junior School pupils who spoke to the Bulletin about what National Womens Day means to them are, at back, from left, Mamali Busika, Jordan Laguma, Pollyanne Carlos and Kelli Arendse. In front are some of the Grade 1 girls they hope to inspire: Khloe Arendse, Anesu Nhepera and Gemme Petese.

Mamali Busika, Kelli Arendse, Pollyanne Carlos and Jordan Laguma are all Grade 7 pupils at Wynberg Girls’ Junior School and each, in her own way, is doing something to inspire their peers.

Mamali lives in Wynberg and is the head of sports at the school.

She said: “Girls look up to me because netball is something they enjoy and this makes me want to keep on doing what I love.”

Kelli Arendse, of Plumstead, said Women’s Day was about changing society’s attitudes to women and women’s attitudes about themselves.

“Women’s day is important to me because it is all about women empowerment, women have been criticised in the past or they may not seem as important as men but I believe that women can do anything that men can do.”

Pollyanne Carlos, is originally from the Philippines but now lives in Wynberg. “I like to inspire people, I go back on my culture and use that as a form of inspiring other people. My role-model is Ada Lovelace who was the first programmer and she inspires me because people would think the first programmer would be a man but the first is a woman and now she has changed that way of thinking.”

English mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace (1815 to 1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, the poet, and is widely considered to have written the world’s first computer programme.

Jordan Laguma who has a passion for for charity said, “My mom is my superwoman she supports me through everything.”

At Wynberg Girls’ High School, Robyn Van Dam, of Constantia, emphasised the importance of women helping each other.

“At the school, we have a challenge called wool for wonders. We knit jerseys, blankets, booties, gloves, tops and so much more. This campaign is also about supporting other women out there who do not have the funding for new clothes for keeping warm through winter. It is about building that strength within women.”

Kayla Garcia is part of the school’s “tech team”, which is responsible for sound and lighting.

“This is something people usually stereotyped as a man’s job, but being at a girls’ school teaches me that I am capable of doing anything and that I can make a difference.”

Chloe Johnson chairs the pupils’ representative council and is a member of the school’s feminist society, which meets on Fridays at break to discuss issues women face and oppression.

“It is not to put shame to men; it is all about equality and knowing that, as a woman, you also have rights, and society should not change the way you are being looked at as a woman.”

Parina Naidoo, from Constantia and head of academics at the high school, said:

“When I speak to a boy from another all-boys’ high school and I say that I did really well in a certain subject, he will say that at the girls’ school the standards are lower, your teachers mark nicely and because we are girls the teachers are softer towards us, which is not true, as the teachers are difficult on us, as they want the best and they shape us to be independent women.”

The girls spoke about how women’s roles had changed over the years and Robyn shared a story her mother once told her.

“When my mother finished school, she was asking her parents what career path she should follow, and my grandfather actually asked her why she was even applying to university as a woman’s role is to stay at home with the children.”