The Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies celebrated the strength of women by hosting nearly 700 mothers from the community and surrounding areas at the 9th annual Ladies Breakfast event at the Bonteheuwel Civic Centre. Donning bright yellow colours, the group of over 60 ladies, led by organiser, Suraya Salie, offered a free breakfast with entertainment on Wednesday morning.
This year, the group of walking ladies partnered with Western Cape Wellness, community organisations and the International Women’s Peace Group to highlight the plight of women in impoverished areas on the cape flats. Salie says her active work in uplifting women of the community began when she was diagnosed with cancer nine years ago.
“When the doctors first diagnosed me with cancer, I knew I had to do something. I began to adopt a healthier lifestyle by walking each and every day. I saw the challenges so many women face around me and they began to walk with me. This provided us with an opportunity to not only be active and healthier but also to connect with each other and understand that we all face the same challenges. We decided to work together and spread the message of peace to our neighbours,” Salie told VOC.
“No one paid a cent for this event to become a reality. This just shows that only through the grace of God we can come together and face whatever negativity is plaguing us in our community.”
Special guests included a Parliamentary official, faith leaders, community organisations, as well as health and well-ness specialists amongst many others. The women were treated to classic songs from local performers while caterers handed out parcels of food and snacks. The atmosphere was filled with joyous laughs and giggles as elderly ladies were seen dancing to the tunes.
VOC News spoke to some women who were in attendance, many of whom said the event is a wonderful reminder of how important it is to acknowledge and support each other.
“My friends and I always attend this event. It is so much fun. We are given the chance to let go and just let our hair down and enjoy ourselves. Many of us here take care of our grandchildren and live each day from the hand to the mouth. We never get an opportunity like this. Here, we as the hard working mothers of this community are celebrated and treated with so much kindness. We are so grateful for Suraya. She really cares about this community,” said 78 year old Aunty Gabieba.
No tickets for the event were on sale. Women simply lined up at the door in the early hours of the morning to secure their seat to the event.
Meanwhile, the event has taken on new heights. Salie has now been offered the opportunity to take her courage and cause across the ocean to the United States of America where she’ll be representing the women of Cape Town as part of an international initiative for world peace hosted by the International Women’s Peace Group.
Salie, still in awe following the news, said the opportunity will allow her bring the plight of Cape Town women to the international area and garner much needed support and channels that can bring about change not only women in SA but for women in difficulty all over the world.
“This entire initiative began with very little. We never know what we will be able to serve these ladies and yet, each event they receive something to eat and a gift and so much love. All we can say is Shukr to Allah for guiding and protecting us through this venture thus far. I hope to spread the word of peace and love in this world Insha-Allah,” Salie concluded. VOC