By Monique Lewis
The Sisonke Women Round Tables hosted a Bullying and teen suicide campaign on May 14, which was an awareness session for the girl child of Ntsonkota Senior Secondary school on bullying and teen suicide. The session was prompted by the rate of bullying that is taking place in schools across South Africa. It was also necessitated by the recent suicide if Lufuno from Limpopo who committed suicide as a result of being bullied.
Sisonke Nkoki is the founder of Sisonke Women’s Round Table and also serves as a public servant in the Eastern Cape provincial administration in the Human Resources department. She said, “This is an idea of more than 10 years but it became a beautiful reality last year 2020. The reason for the late implementation was because of self-limiting beliefs. I had this fear of starting and I always had these what ifs that did not allow me to actually take that step forward.”.
Sisonke Women’s Round Table creates an enabling platform for like-minded women to come together for purposes of information sharing with the aim of creating a network collaboration as well as a platform that serves as a safe space for sharing personal information about oneself, it further allows the girl child and women to freely share their stories with the purpose of getting help or for the sake of stress relieving.
Nkoki said, “We aim to bring resources to underprivileged girls in particular who are unable to have access to things such as career expos, for example, or girls that would not have any self-confidence and belief of their capabilities and what they could achieve if only they allowed themselves to explore the resources that are in abundance. It is a platform that is about giving and sharing to those that might be lacking”.
The aim of the event was to communicate what bullying is and the various forms of it because many only understand that it is only bullying when it’s physical fighting. Many women from their respected departments joined in on the event to bring forth this awareness campaign. Nkoki had roped in Social development which was represented by Afika Siziba who is the Buffalo City District director. Sibiza shared her personal story of being a reformed bully herself. Micah Block from the Micah Block Foundation presented on the mental health effects of Bullying and teen suicide. The South African Police Service (SAPS) was represented by Sergent Nkonki who shared information on the legal consequences of bullying and encouraged the girls to think how such acts can actually ruin their future prospects. NTU News publisher, Babsi Mcinga, was the keynote speaker and she encouraged the girls on how to stand up and stand strong for those that are being bullied as that is what she did when she was growing up. She fought for those who were being bullied in school. The theme of the day was “Don’t stand by. Stand up, stand strong, stand together”.