The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa's Isililo Manyano Bomme or "Bloused Women" celebrated its 40th anniversary in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni at the weekend.
The event, which was held at the Benoni United Church, ended yesterday with its 40th annual conference of its central region.
Outlining its history, stalwart Eugenia Skosana said that before 1967 the church was divided into the Congregational Union of Southern Africa, American Board Mission and London Missionary Society.
"In 1967, the organisations amalgamated into the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (Uccsa). During this process, all structures were recognised and given the status of the standing committee of Uccsa denominationally, except the 'Bloused Women', who were predominantly black, while the Women of Fellowship was open to all races.
"It was pathetic to see the 'Bloused Women', pillars of the church, treated in that manner," Skosana said.
She said when the issue of serving under the umbrella of Women Fellowship became a thorn, a general conference of Isililo Manyano Bomme from Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and other regions in South Africa was initiated to find ways to "unshackle themselves".
She added: "Now we are free and out of the fellowship's umbrella. We are independent and enjoy being a standing committee as all other structures in the denomination."