'There is absolutely nothing to celebrate'
WHILE the country celebrated Woman's Day on Monday, Merriam Nukeri of Ndambe village in Limpopo, had nothing to make a song and dance about.
"What's there for women like me to celebrate?" she asked.
Nukeri, 19, is still reeling from the shock earlier this year when her family of eight was allegedly burnt to ashes by a Mozambican man who lived with her mother for 20 years. The man has since been arrested.
Her mother Elizabeth's marriage was not a bed of roses because of the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of the man.
Though Nukeri is married with a baby boy, she struggles to make ends meet.
She is unemployed and so is her husband Michael.
She has appealed to local government and housing MEC Soviet Lekganyane to build them an RDP house.
"I have gone through hell as a young woman but I am optimistic that maybe one day the government will come to my rescue by building us a house.
"The government should help us poor women because we form part of the electorate.
"When they were here canvassing for votes ahead of the elections, they promised us better lives, irrespective of who we are and where we stay," Nukeri said.
"Most of us in rural areas are still jobless. We don't have access to sanitation, education and primary healthcare.
"Besides a lack of service delivery, we are also victims of domestic violence.
"We continue to suffer at the hands of our male partners. Does the world know how much we are suffering?"
While progressive women groups in Limpopo were rolling out programmes to empower each other, Nukeri said such activities hardly reached her neighbourhood.
"Because we live in far- flung areas, women who live in the cities are reluctant to visit our communities and empower us with the requisite skills to prepare us for the job market."
Meanwhile, the ANC Women's League in Limpopo is conducting month-long workshops as part of Women's Month.
Titled "Together empowering women for development and gender equality", the programme will focus on leadership management, support for victims of violence and business opportunities.