– by Noluthando Makhaza
Often society expects women to be ‘conformists’ and ‘timid’ as opposed to men. For many centuries, because of this perceived ideology, women have been victimised not only by strangers but also by those they trust the most. With the hope to break the stigma, here at UKZN Extended Learning (UEL), we recently hosted a Wellness and Self-preservation workshop for Women aimed at educating and empowering our modern women to live well-rounded healthy and balanced lives – spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Edwin Saabir Perry who is formally from the United States of America and is currently the owner of KMT Fitness and Therapy. Saabir has an accumulative of 23 years’ experience as a competitive athlete, personal trainer and lecturer.
The first half of the two-hour workshop mainly focused on nutrition and physical health where Saabir created an interactive ambiance as delegates shared their knowledge and asked questions on each specific topic. The workshop was also coupled by a few warm up exercises as a teaser to one of Saabir’s gym sessions.
Due to the high crime rates against women in SA, Saabir is extremely passionate about training women to be more prepared to fight and defend themselves as “anything might happen at any given moment, considering the fact that no one is ever 100% safe” – said Saabir. According to a questionnaire recently conducted by Stats SA which was based on attitudes and perceptions on crime against women, an estimated 3.3% of men and 2.3% of women think that it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman. Hence, the second-half of the workshop focused more on self-preservation tactics where Saabir taught the importance of using our mind as a weapon. He called this “mind setting”. Mind setting requires one to assess and be vigilant in potentially dangerous situations. When retaliation is the only option, mind setting also plays a huge role as one has to be mentally prepared to get injured when they fight back. Through physical demonstrations as the ladies participated, Saabir also taught a few techniques on how to reciprocate when pressured into a corner.
“Like almost all South African women, I have survived sexual abuse and violence and supported other survivors in their struggles, across multiple social institutions of family, school, church etc, and not only quest for social justice but genuine wellness and healing too, as many do. I would like to admiringly and compassionately thank Dr. Perry so much – for his warmly professional conduct & insights which have impacted me in immensely positive ways” – said one of the workshop attendees.
UEL strives to make a difference in our communities, not only by offering quality short courses, but also by offering insightful free workshops with the aim of empowerment and upliftment within the community.