Amid the joyous celebration of National Women's Day, the fourth annual event to be held at the UCKG Cenacle of Faith in Soweto, a minute's silence paid tribute to those visionary women who marched on the Union Buildings in 1956. These courageous women campaigned for freedom, and to honour their legacy the capacity crowd of 7 500 women, men and children were encouraged to embrace this hard-fought freedom and make good choices for themselves. Speakers highlighted how bad choices, including procrastination and early pregnancy, low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence, impact negatively on people's futures, urging everyone to fight back and actively embrace a brighter future.
Guest speaker, SA Gospel diva and international super-star Deborah Fraser, inspired the church members with her success story before leaving to perform after President Zuma's Women's Day address in Pretoria. Speaking of her life, she said she suffered many trials and tribulations and had to make difficult choices. She chose to put God first and work step-by-step to achieve her dreams and realise her goals. Deborah encouraged everyone to continue working towards a better life for themselves and never to give up.
Marcia Pires, founder of Women in Action (WiA), paid tribute to the 20 000 women who took a stand against the apartheid regime in 1956, sending a resounding message through their 30 minute silence. She said: "These women made a choice which paved the way for the freedom we enjoy in South Africa today. But are we really free, or have previous decisions impacted negatively on our lives and kept people trapped and enslaved? What are you doing with your freedom today?"
Choice is a mental process of judging the options available and selecting a course of action. She saluted legendary leaders and great examples of strong women who made good choices and transformed South African society, encouraging everyone to choose between being miserable and motivating themselves. She said: "Whatever has to be done, there is always a choice - your choice. Don't compromise your future through bad choices. Make quality choices which will result in a brilliant future. Always be ready to answer for your choices."
For those living with the results of previous bad choices, she said: "Be inspired by those women bound by unjust laws and unequal circumstances who found a way to break through the barriers. Through carefully considered choices now, you can turn your circumstances around. Choose your partner, your career, your morals and values, your religion and your lifestyle with care. These choices shape your future."
More than 1 600 bright pink shopping bags were sold and funds raised will be used to finance education for those who are unable to provide for themselves.
WiA is involved in numerous outreach initiatives including cancer awareness programmes and projects to highlight and fight abuse and human trafficking. They are also involved in skills training initiatives which empower women to earn a living and provide for their families.
In closing the vibrant celebration of historical triumphs and current freedom of choice, Marcia Pires encouraged everyone to follow the example in Deuteronomy 30:19: "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
For further information, please contact Nametso Mofokeng at the church's public relations department on 011 224 3400 or email email@example.com