Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters’ Unbreakable campaign kicks off in September with workshops rolling out at a number of venues throughout Gauteng and with one in Cape Town. Unbreakable takes place at Sun International’s Times Square in Pretoria as well as community centres in Diepsloot, Soweto, Mamelodi and Observatory.
Nel-Peters has worked closely on the initiative with Mark Grobbelaar, a 6th Dan karate expert, who gave up his corporate job to create an organisation called Woman INPowered (WIP) which aims to empower women when faced with life-threatening situations. She has also collaborated with MasterDrive, an advanced driver training company.
She explains: “The Unbreakable campaign aims to educate, uplift and empower South African women. This they can start to do by taking care of themselves and making wise decisions.”
Nel-Peters was inspired to launch Unbreakable because of the attempted hijacking she experienced earlier this year: “It was an awful experience but I knew how to handle the situation in the best possible way, because I had done WIP and MasterDrive workshops for women that focused on everything from hijacking and robberies and how to handle these situations, to how to get out of toxic and abusive relationships. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and the information I learnt on these courses certainly helped me. So now – together with Mark – we will set up similar workshops.”
The inspiration behind WIP is Alison Botha, who endorses the programme. In December 1994, Alison was abducted outside her home by two men who raped, stabbed and disembowelled her. They slashed her throat and left her for dead. Alison survived. Since then she has become a motivational speaker, author and was the subject of the acclaimed documentary film Alison, which became the first South African movie to be shown at Los Angeles’ prestigious Dances with Films film festival.
Says Grobbelaar: “We aim to change the way women view self-defense by seeing the power in being able to take control and, by doing so, changing the outcome of a situation. It is extremely simple, easy to learn and yet devastatingly effective.”
Says Eugene Herbert, managing director of MasterDrive: “Whenever we hear that our hijack extraction course has been of real use to someone, it is always gratifying. Being hijacked is an extremely traumatising experience and, if our course helps someone think through the fear, even in some small way, there is no greater reward. Our objective is to help every person who ever finds themself in this unfortunate position, escape it safely. I encourage every person who learns these skills to share them with as many as possible.”
Workshops are free and are limited to 150 women. Booking, which is essential, is on first come, first serve basis. Book on Miss South Africa website or social media pages/ https://www.pocketrsvp.com/
The itinerary is as follows:
Ø Stanza Bopape Health & Community Development Centre, Mamelodi: Saturday, September 2 at 09h00
Ø Observatory Community Centre, Cape Town: Saturday, September 9 at noon.
Ø The HIV/Aids Awareness Project & Youth Development, Soweto: Saturday, September 23 at 09h00
Ø Vuselela Ulwazi Lwakho Drop-in Centre, Diepsloot: Saturday, September 23 at noon
Ø Times Square, Pretoria: Saturday, September 30 at 10h00.
I hope to hand over my crown next year knowing that I did everything in my capability to inspire women to believe in themselves, to value themselves and to know that asking for help does not mean you are weak.
Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters