Auto giant Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) celebrated Women’s Month by treating all women in its employ to a special celebration that marked the historic women’s march of August 9 1956.
The company hosted an empowerment day for employees and business associates and learner beneficiaries this week.
More than 100 women gathered at the manufacturing plant for a day of celebrations in recognition of the strides women in South Africa have made in society.
The group was made up of employees, a delegation from the Business Women’s Association (BWA) and participants from the MBSA disability learnership programme.
The women participated in an empowerment walk around the plant, a symbolic re-enactment of the 1956 march.
As they walked, they carried a banner with messages of acknowledgement to the women who stood up against the oppressive laws.
The walk was followed by a dialogue on the importance of womanhood.
Gladstone Mtyoko, divisional manager at the plant, journeyed with the group down memory lane, reflecting on the importance of Women’s Day.
“Transformation being one of the key objectives for the plant, it was an honour and privilege to host this landmark event.
“The empowerment of women plays a significant role in shaping the good values and equitable norms of our society,” he said.
Masimanyane Centre director Lesley-Ann Foster was the keynote speaker. Foster commended the company for its work towards community building.
“I want to thank MBSA for having the vision and foresight to lift up women in our community, right here in East London,” she said.
Employee Wendy Nomphelo said she was happy her employer was working towards developing women.
“This shows that the company is recognising the role of women in the organisation.
“Something is being done about transformation here in the plant.
“I was very glad to see the support from men on this kind of thing – it shows progress.”
Another employee, Xhanti Woko, said it was “refreshing” to see and be part of initiatives which “just celebrate us for being women”.
MBSA spokesman Asanda Fonqo said the company recognised the month of August as a time to celebrate women for the multifaceted roles they play in their daily lives.
“We have developed a tradition and culture in which we celebrate women in the workplace through our appreciation of diversity.
“The theme adopted for Women’s Month this year is ‘Empowerment – the vehicle to success, let’s drive it together’.”
Fonqo also said they were committed to supporting initiatives aimed at assisting the needy and vulnerable.
“We strongly believe that all of us have a role in building this wonderful country.”