WFP celebrated both days on 10 October with an event with 140 women farm workers and dwellers. The focus of the day was to highlight the important contribution of women’s food production to household food security. Through group work, women also discussed their constraints to growing food. These included access to inputs, such as land and seeds, as well as access to markets. Women who are currently participating in the Cooperatives & Food Gardens Programme shared their experiences, especially highlighting the impact of food production: some women spoke about the nutritional benefits their households are experiencing, while others are able to share and sell their surpluses; others have been able to start small house-based businesses – e.g. house shop, selling wood, etc. Â
Aunty Grietjie and her husband are both pensioners, and live on a farm in Rawsonville. They are able to live off the vegetables she produces, as well as the income generated from the sale of surplus vegetables, and the pigs and chickens she purchased from the sale of surplus vegetables.
The event also served to highlight the link between farm worker evictions and food insecurity. As women are evicted from farms, they land up in informal settlements, with even less access to land, and less possibility of producing food. Â
MANDELA DAY 2013!!!
SPEND YOUR 67 MINUTES FARMING WITH THE STELLENBOSCH FARMWOMEN’S COOPERATIVE!
Nelson Mandela, Hyde Park, London, June 2008
On behalf of the Stellenbosch Women’s Agricultural Cooperative, Women on Farms Project invites you to celebrate Mandela Day by working the land with the women.
Despite numerous challenges on the municipal commonage on which they are farming, such as water shortages and lack of extension services and infrastructural support, the women have started vegetable production on the land. Their first harvest enabled them to grow enough for both household consumption and a small surplus for income generation. Also, after the fire in March which displaced 2,000 residents in Kayamandi, each Cooperative member assisted six affected families with vegetables as part of the disaster relief effort.
part of its ongoing land campaign during 2013, WFP marked the centenary of the 1913 Native Land Act when 100 women farm workers and dwellers from the Cape Winelands District Municipality, marched and picketed at the Worcester Municipality, the Department of Rural Development & Land Reform (DRDLR) and the Worcester Magistrate's Court.
On Saturday, 4 May, 180 women farm workers from across the Cape Winelands District Municipality gathered in Wolseley to celebrate Workers' Day. Women reflected on the impact of the strike and the implementation of the new minimum wage. Women shared their experiences of the backlash by farmers which include: farm worker dismissals; reducing number of seasonal workers; reducing workers' working hours; increasing farm worker rents, etc. It also emerged that some farmers are not paying the new minimum wage. Many farmers are telling their workers that they have been granted the minimum wage exemption, even though they do not have exemption. Because the exemptions which have been granted are not in the public domain, workers have no way of knowing whether their employers have been granted exemption. WFP is lobbying for the public disclosure of the legal exemptions. WFP is also currently undertaking research into the 2012 strike, especially the role and impacts on women farm workers.
On 8 March, WFP hosted a public event for more than 200 women farm workers and dwellers to celebrate International Women's Day. The focus of the event was twofold: to reflect on the farm worker strikes of 2012, and share experiences and strategies around the continuing violence against women in rural towns and farms.
In reflecting on the farm worker strikes, women discussed both the emerging impacts of the strikes and the role played by women during the strike. Following these preliminary discussions, WFP is undertaking more detailed research into the impacts of the strike.
While reflecting on gender-based violence, women shared their experiences of poor service delivery from police officials, recounting instances in which police had refused to open cases about domestic violence, failed to implement protection orders, and released perpetrators shortly after arresting them.
Following the workshop, women marched to the Stellenbosch police station to hand over a memorandum outlining their experiences with rural police officials, and demanding more respectful and gender-sensitive service from police responding to reports of gender-based violence. WFP will follow up with the Stellenbosch police.