Women gain strength with Link to Grow

Young and old gathered at the Graduate School of Business at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday June 8 to share ideas about the country.

In a new world, new things need to be done to take the country to greater heights.

This was heard at the Link to Grow conference held at the Graduate School of Business at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday June 8.

Link to Grow is an organisation committed to the advancement of women, equipping them to gain strength, be self-reliant and succeed in life.

Organiser Suzanne Leighton said the idea came about when she noticed that a lot of her friends she sat with at dinner tables and people her age were always complaining about South Africa having no future.

She said they always looked depressed and feeling like they were tired and they had nothing else to offer.

“It made me quite cross and I started to feel sick, so I thought I had to get these older people who have value, but think that they do not, together with the young people who are struggling and still have energy and get them in one room, and in a mentorship capacity they can share ideas for the future of the country,” she said.

She said this was the first conference and she’s hoping that versions of it will become a regular event in different parts of the city.

Ms Leighton said there isn’t an outcome, but she hopes that people will be able to talk to each other. She said sitting and moaning about the situation wastes time and was not constructive.

“I want them to hear and listen to each other, but on a heart level. On a human level, we have the same desires and therefore if we put our heads and hearts together we can find a way forward,” she said.

Attendees were given an exercise to have a conversation where they shared what breaks their hearts about the country. They were encouraged to acknowledge the darkness of the country and connect to a heartfelt level so that a solution can be found.

Timothy Taylor, 17, said many young people are not taught to think.

“Thinking should be a subject in schools, young people lack the ability to think beyond their situations, they lack the skill to think for themselves and that makes it hard to think for other people and to be ambitious enough. If we all had that skill the country would’ve been very far,” he said.

Namibian-born, Wiebke Lusted, who’s been living in the country for more than 60 years, said her concern about the country was that we are not all able to realise the potential that we had.

“I’m saddened by the youth unemployment rate, corruption is costing this country so much. We need good, ethical leaders for the country to blossom,” she said.

Bulelwa Basse said it stuck with her that the root of the rot was patriarchy. She said the grooming of the women and how they should hold their positions in society was unfair.

“The invincible monster manifests itself in various hierarchies where those who exercise it feel entitled to throwing it down our throats and we find ourselves having a mental struggle with ourselves,” she said.

To find the light, attendees were asked to re-imagine the future and share their dreams for South Africa.

Leon Linz, acting principal at Good Hope Seminary High School, said the country had wise people who had a dream and sat down and drafted the Constitution of the country.

“Unfortunately, identity politics and people who are trying to play games with other people’s lives have taken over. My dream for this country is for everyone to understand that we’re all people who share a common humanity.

“I dream of a country where everyone is equal no matter the race and gender. I dream of a country where I can leave for work in the morning and not see people in my suburb living on the beach front because they have no food and shelter.

“A country where the kids I teach do not come to school hungry or abused, which is the reality for the majority of them. I dream of a country where people have regard for other human beings, where people aspire to the best of moral values, a country where there’s hope again and young people are provided with an opportunity to experience a healthy, good quality of life and a sense of possibility.

“It is all possible,” he said.