SA Army Looks at Gender Issues towards a United, Non-Racial and Non-Sexist SA National Defence Force, Thaba Tshwane City Hall, 22 August 2012

Article and photographs by Major Merle Meyer, SA Army Corporate Communication
Photographs by Staff Sergeant Leonard Xaba, Engineer Terrain Intelligence Regiment

Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. The SA Army presented a gender conference on Wednesday 22 August 2012 at the Thaba Tshwane City Hall with the theme: “Towards a united, non-racial and non-sexist SA National Defence Force”.

The Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, opened the event and said that in order to achieve a united, non-racial and non-sexist SA National Defence Force, the SA Army had to empower all its members with formal and on-the-job training. He also mentioned the achievement of women who served as paratroopers, Rooikat and Signal Squadron commanders and in a variety of highly skilled jobs. He conveyed his appreciation to those women who worked hard to achieve success. He also highlighted the success of a number of women who had been appointed as brigadier generals, commanding officers and regimental sergeant majors. Lieutenant General Masondo reminded the audience that the SA Army acknowledged the difference between men and women, but despite that women surprised the SA Army with their skills and adaptability. The SA Army are also encouraged in how well the men coped in having women as commanders or deployed with them in the field.

Other speakers included Mrs Hermien Fourie, researcher at the Chief Directorate Transformation Management who presented the results of the research on why males changed from the Combat Corps to the Support Corps. The research found that their circumstances changed and that there were limited promotion and career opportunities. Another reason was also work dissatisfaction.

Colonel Jacques Roger Jean-Marie Jullienne, honorary colonel of Regiment President Kruger, gave an address on the culture of the SA Army and how it contributes to a unified organisation.

Colonel Jacques Roger Jean-Marie Jullienne, honorary colonel of Regiment President Kruger





















The SA Army Headquarters choir entertained the participants with their singing skills and several participants joined in the dancing when they sang the song “If you strike a woman you strike a rock”. The National Ceremonial Guard entertainment group entertained the attendees and again the participants were on their feet and swaying their hips to the beat.

SA Army Headquarters Choir










Chaplain Michael Phillips from National Ceremonial Guard focused on the role of women and men in society down to the soldiers.

A very apt poem written and read by Captain Arthur Nontume was "The sky is not the limit". A verse in the poem says:
“If you want to move, stand up
If you want to be seen, hand up
If you want recognition, speak out
If we must trust you, be committed
In order to count on you, be the best.”

Captain Arthur Nontume










The day ended by a very enthusiastic and well-versed speaker, Major Mimi Madiba, the Personal Adjutant to the Chief Army Force Preparation telling the story of her life in the SA Army. She mentioned that many a day she had to pray to survive the military training and the officer commanding who she thought did not like her, actually taught her the most, including that discipline was the glue that kept everything together. She said that she had learnt to listen, be disciplined, and assertive, strive to win, that life was always about balance that and we all needed one another. She encouraged all young people to step outside their comfort zones and remember that the military was a calling and a life style and not only a job.

Major Mimi Madiba










A most successful day ended with those wise words.