In celebration of Women’s Day 2022, WILDTRUST, through their Ocean Alive Project based in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park invited women from in and around the Marine Protected Area to their 3Community Resource Hubs to discuss several topics that affect the women of Northern Zululand.
Two hubs were launched late last year as valuable spaces for communities, namely Mabibi and KwaDapha. The third in eNkovukeni is under construction but this didn’t stop the tenacious women of the area from congregating on the plot of land set to be developed into the hub to discuss matters of importance to them.
Mabibi invited female elders of the community for a cup of tea and scones to a resource mapping session, where knowledge was imparted on where natural resources are found locally, how best to preserve them, and their use to the people and the land they inhabit. This session was aimed at the youth and acted as an important transfer of knowledge to the younger generation to be reminded how the order of the land once was and still can be.
When asked their thoughts before the session the youth commented about being mildly intimidated by the conversations to be had but were relieved after the session to learn that the older methods did what scientific intervention now aims to do, preserve the natural environment for all while having enough to use.
“It was inspiring to see how much knowledge the women of Mabibi have when it comes to caring for the natural environment and their dedication in sharing this knowledge to ensure future generations can reap the benefits of calling Mabibi home,” commented Siphamandla Masuku after the session.
KwaDapha held a session on Gender Based Violence in parallel to women’s empowerment and the eNkovukeni hub, hosted a local resource expo where indigenous knowledge was shared about key local species, plants, trees, and fish and how to use the natural resources sustainably.
“It is an honour to have been invited to speak on my connection to the ocean and my voice to be valued as a resident of eNkovukeni,” said Lungile Vumase, a female farmer. “For as long as I could remember it has always been the ocean and the people and vice versa, as a young girl I was taught to understand the ocean by looking at the stages of the moon, that is when we would know it is welcoming us to harvest mussels and fish. Things over the years have changed a lot, the link between people and the ocean has been compromised, and we now also must rely on other things to indicate if the ocean has enough provisions for us. Because taking without permission always leads to tragedy.”
This session which explored the interconnectedness between plants, trees, fish, the ocean, and community resulted in discussion around the need for systems to be put in place to help keep this nformation for generations to come. ‘’Asikucelayo ukuthi abazayo bazi ukuthi imvelo iyahlonishwa” translated into English means “Our plea is for those in the future to know that nature is respected.”
“It is so heart-warming to see the hubs buzzing with so many powerful women,” said WILDTRUST Project Manager Nozi Mbongwa. Thank you to the Blue Action Fund, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park Authority for their support of the Oceans Alive Project. Without them none of these important engagements, discussions and ultimately action would be possible.”