The Tanelle Welff Ministries and Foundation in partnership with Morningstar Child Care Centre hosted an event at De Wallshof Farm in Stellenbosch for women farm workers on Saturday.
About 50 women farm workers from two farms gathered at a shed on the farm to celebrate Women’s Month.
The event formed part of the “Not in my town” campaign, which aims to raise awareness about gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and child abuse.
The campaign is run by non-profit company Tanelle Welff Ministries and Foundation, which is based in Scottsville and headed by Reverend Tanelle Welff-Dixon.
Ms Welff-Dixon was the guest speaker and said she believed the abuse of women farm workers was overlooked, which was what inspired the event.
“Historically, farm workers, especially women endured high levels of abuse by their partners as a result of alcohol abuse primarily introduced by the outlawed ‘dop system’, which enslaved workers by paying their salaries with alcohol. It is rumoured to still be practised at certain farms in the country,” she said.
She said the abuse of alcohol by women farm workers had contributed to the number of babies being born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
The seasonal nature of farm work was a serious concern for many women, she said, and further encouraged women to come up with new ideas on how to generate income for themselves during times when there is no work at the farms.
The “Not In My Town” campaign was well received and the women signed their own pledges, committing themselves to act against GBVF in their farming communities.
Ms Welff-Dixon said the campaign aimed to visit towns and communities all over the country to collect one million or more pledges from ordinary people, officials, organisations, business, academia, and political parties.