Teachers honoured at Women’s day lunch

Abie Delport and Selwyn Barnes, teachers at Glendale High School, treated their women colleagues to lunch.

Men should emphasise the important role women play in society, said Abie Delport, Glendale High School’s head of department for history.

Speaking to the Plainsman ahead of a lunch held in commemoration of Women’s Day, Mr Delport said: “We cannot stress the role of women enough.

“The rightful place of women must be emphasised more,” he said.

He said the stance women took when they marched to the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, to protest against the carrying of pass books on August 9, 1956, is not just important for “our society, but internationally”.

Sixty-years ago, about 20 000 women dropped off petitions, with more than 100 000 signatures, against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act – to carry an internal passport, known as a pass – that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanisation, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era.

“It was the women who led the fight for equality,” he said.

“The era of feminism is crucial today because this is where our women come from,” said Mr Delport.

“Women are the backbone of our society, when you take them out of the equation, not a lot of things happen.”

“They contribute tremendously, not just at our school, but to the families of our pupils,” he said.

Mr Delport’s colleague, Selwyn Barnes, who planned the celebration, said they wanted to thank the women on their staff, serve them a finger lunch and pay tribute to all that they do at school.

Glendale High School has 26 staff members, including support staff, and had seven student teachers, who were treated to lunch on Friday August 5.

“They are the guests and we will serve them,” he said.

Mr Barnes thanked principal, Achmat Chotia for always supporting their initiatives.

Mr Chotia said the school had women in management positions, two heads of departments and leadership roles.

“Glendale High School emb-races this very important move out of apartheid to the democracy enjoyed today,” he said.

“The women (in 1956) made it very clear that they were part and parcel of the struggle and they moved society.

“Today we have single mothers, absent fathers and sons who still abuse women,” he said.

Mr Chotia said the role of women cannot be overemphasised.

Deputy principal Khadeejah Davids said: “It is the mothers and grandmothers, who intervene and work for peace in gang areas.

“We change society in our little ways – single mothers are running households and attend disciplinary hearings because fathers are absent,” she said.

Ms Davids said it is heart-warming to be acknowledged for the role women play at school and in society.“For the contribution and change they are making their communities,” she said.

* National Women’s Day was marked yesterday, Tuesday August 9.