‘You are enough, you are powerful, love yourself woman’

Tshidi Hlabedi and Rebecca Moloi enjoying the atmosphere at Protea on Deck.

The journey of a woman cannot be limited to her marital status, her ability to carry a child in her womb or how physically attractive she is; she can achieve a whole lot more and that is what Women of Substance were trying to create at Protea on Deck last Saturday.

With the concept of trying to review a book quickly turned into a session where women could connect with each other from different walks of life through the words on pages of a book.

Refilwe Masemola-Makhetha, a member of Woman of Substance said, “This group started as 11 friends who were celebrating everyone who was born in September.

We got to know each other and had a follow up get together in December 2015 and we fell in love with each other.

While getting to know each other we felt that we would be such a great support system to one another.”

Developments of the book reviews started as within the group, there was a book club where every month the ladies would decide on a book to read.

Social networks proving to be powerful as ladies Instagram and facebook live Aya Mpama’s performance.

“We were approached by ladies on social media to do an event so last year September 24 was a first book review session with Lerato Tshabalala where she showcased her event,” said Lelo Ngeno, a member of the group.

Ngeno said that review was more of a closed event and was on a lower scale than the one at Protea on Deck.

The Hlomu series came about and we became so taken by it so we had to have this event to bring women together to celebrate another black woman who’s doing amazing things,” said Ngeno.

Ngeno highlighted how black women have a reputation for not supporting each other and this event was about shaking the narrative off; support each other and pull each other up.

Over 300 women attended the review all connected by the words of a woman whose fiction impacted lives and made them see themselves differently in real life.

Ladies queueing up to get into the venue.

With a performance from poets and actress and singer Aya, the atmosphere reeked of a sisterhood from a woman who can from all parts of the country to be part of the review.

“We are all about empowering each other, building each other up, black empowerment, helping the black child, we are pro black and we need to support each other as women and build each other up,” said Masemola- Makhetha.

Two years down the line Women of Substance want to inspire other women out there to show them their capabilities as women should never be limited.

“ We are hoping that 20 or more groups like this can form where women can support each other and develop a sisterhood like we have,” said Masemola Makhetha.

Zama Khoza and Rosemary Kgatla gush over meeting Dudu Busani-Dube.

The ladies spoke of the “PHD syndrome” which refers to the “pull her down syndrome” something that is evident in the female society.

“We are hoping that women looking in we can show them that actually this narrative of “PHD” is not the truth but if it is, we can unlearn it,” said Semakaleng Ntsoane, another member of the group.

Unfortunately, the group is closed but their aim is to show all women that it’s possible and that all women are capable of greatness regardless of the circumstances having suffered an inferiority complex due to the country’s history.

Masemola-Makhetha said, “We need to affirm each other.”

Ladies who did not have the chance to engage with other women at this review session should expect more from this group of women.

“There will be more events not only focused on reading but maybe good food and wine etc. We are writing the pages as we go,” said Masemola-Makhetha.

Ladies are invited to engage with the Woman of Substance group to go on the journey with them as they grow the support system of empowerment among other women.

“We have gone over and beyond to what we thought we could do, if we can do it, so can you,” said Ngeno.

More Photos:

Both decks at the venue filled almost to capacity.

Semakaleng Ntsoane.

From left; Luamboi Sadiki, Rosemary Kgatla, and Zama Khoza hold up their copies of the book proudly.

From left; Pearl Thobela, Lerato Matloha, and Sikholiwe Ngcobo.

Dudu Busani-Dube signing copies for her fans.

Dudu Busani-Dube author of The Hlomu Series.

Aya Mpama performing her hit tracks for the ladies.

From left; Lelo Ngeno and Refilwe Masemola.

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