Call for information
“Healing memories of the past” Project gets underway.
The project will be in its data collection phase from 1 March 2023 to 31 March 2023 and anyone who would like to make a contribution can contact the foundation on 073 228 5046 (WA) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eugenia Nothemba Gxowa was a teacher, activist and mother who faced discrimination
under the apartheid regime, where Bantu Education, prevented all married female teachers
from teaching in schools of their choice close to their homes. They could only be employed
as temporary farm school teachers or private teachers employed and paid by farm owners.
Because most of these farm schools were far from these women’s homes, this meant they
could only spend limited time with their families during school holidays.
Their male counterparts had no restrictions. This discriminatory practice of not allowing
black female teachers to hold lucrative and convenient jobs broke family units.
Many black women divorced their husbands, increasing the number of female-headed
households, therefore feminising poverty. As these women could not access any of the
benefits afforded to their male counterparts such as pensions.
These oppressive practices meted out against black women took its toll.
They survived the challenges and trauma that this unjust environment resulted in.
There were no laws protecting women and children who were on the receiving end, to
sustain women and children beyond the divorce. There was no government assistance
The lived experiences and impact of these discriminatory practices on Black women
teachers has underexplored, those who endured it were never afforded an opportunity to
tell their stories or participate in efforts to ensure future generations are spared the
indignity of this oppression.
It is against this backdrop that the ENGF is working to gather knowledge and gauge the
impact of this heinous education system implemented under the Bantu Education Act. The
Foundation believes it is critical that these stories do not remain untold. The pain and
suffering of these women and their children cannot stay buried.
A team of data collectors will over the next few weeks be traversing the length and breadth
of the Eastern Cape Province to interview individuals impacted by these discriminatory
practices as part of the Healing memories of the past project.
“We will be conducting interviews with the children and other relatives of some of these women who were impacted or who may have knowledge of what they experienced. It is a very personal project for me because I have experienced the impact of this discrimination,” explains the Founding Chairperson of the Organisation Nomkhitha Gysman.
Gysman and her five siblings moved often with their mother as she sought employment at various farm schools.
“We want to document how these unfair practices impacted generations of families and we are issuing an appeal for all people with information to come forward and share experiences and information with the Foundation,” Gysman said.
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