Uzwothe Mukwevho
Thengwe Secondary School, Thohoyandou, Limpopo

Going to Canada to attend one of the biggest women conference was such an adventure for me. Growing up I never thought I would, apply for a passport yet alone travel across the globe at a young age because of how disadvantaged I am. I grew up in a very small village where my dreams were usually limited. My parents were always advising me to focus on school work and not worry about anything else because their job is to worry as parents and my job is to learn.

The Motsepe foundation gave me something that I could have never got on my own, an opportunity to show case my talent and intelligence as well as overcoming my fears. I never knew anything about The Women Deliver Conference and how I am also capable to make change in my community. Attending this conference made me realise that there is a lot going on across the globe and I am to take initiative of making things better. 

One of the subjects that stood out for me was gender equality. I read about gender equality at school and to me it was not anything either than a topic I needed to cram and pass in my exams, but I am now aware of the bigger picture riding on gender equality. I realised that it is everybody’s problem either you are a man, woman, girl and a boy. Some of the highlights will be getting to meet the women behind the Women Deliver Conference and the one and only Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe, and Melinda Gates who also has a great influence in the African countries helping disadvantaged people.

My favourite subject was “my body, my rights”. Other women in other countries are suffering to get contraceptives yet alone use them and they are also prohibited to do abortions. What I have learned is that although this is happening people should have right to say what happens to their bodies and they should be allowed to have opinions in their lives. They should be allowed to have voices and they should be given freedom to be heard. 

Youth should also be empowered to have ideas on making the world a better place and they should also be encouraged not to be lazy to express their opinions on things that affect their future. Young people should learn to be creative and be their own entrepreneurs. For example, my school ‘Thengwe High’ also face a lot of challenges that are not discussed, and students are not given chances to talk on what is bothering them regarding the system in school. I learned that we should create forums at school where we talk about our problems. 

I have been thinking that at school we do not have opinions on how we are educated. Hence, some of us struggle to excel in most of the work. I realised that we have to fight for everything because not everything is going to be handed on a silver platter. If we want more food at school, we should not be afraid to say it, and if we want more books we should speak out. As for now I was busy talking to the RCL council at my school so that they can gather every idea from each class about what is bothering them and hindering them from getting better results. Gathering things that can be changed that will also not affect the learning environment.  

I would also like to start an initiative during community meetings at my home town because I also come from a royal family. Therefore, there is always a meeting twice in a week where I can target that small group to talk about problems as women in the community. Women are taken for granted in our community were by they are seen as baby making machines, and house wives and they are never appreciated for their hard work. They always think because of their circumstances they cannot achieve anything in their lives. I have already approached the council and it was so easy because the council members mostly are my family members and I am hoping these women will be free to talk about their problems to ensure a better future for their kids. 

Out of everything I am grateful to the lord for granting me the opportunity and allowing other people to see the greater good in me. My teachers, friends, learners, the principal Mrs Madanda and members of the SGB at Thengwe High school were great supporters. My parents were not so thrilled because they were thinking how the up and down is going to affect my studies and stability, but they did not stop me anyway, they were supportive. Great thanks to the Motsepe foundation for choosing me to represent my country, province, community and school at The Women Deliver Conference. It was the most amazing experience.