Rhodes VC commends lecturers for pioneering community project


The Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, on Tuesday commended lecturers, Dr Sharli Anne Paphitis, Dr Lindsat Kelland, Professor Catriona Macleod and Ryan du Toit, for launching a pioneering community project called Siyahluma, which means “We are growing”.

Mabizela said he was happy that the project, and its members, has lived up to its motto, which is “brightening the corner where you are”.

“This project is paving way by implementing actual change in the lives of the province’s young people,” he added.

The Siyahluma initiative seeks to provide sanitary towels to young girls from underprivileged families while also giving them information needed to understand the menstruation process. Research has previously shown that many girls from poor families end up missing classes for days every month during their menstrual cycles because they cannot access sanitary towels.

“The lack of access to information, or in many cases, misleading or stigmatised information about menstruation plays a role in young girls,” added the team.

The reusable sanitary towels, which are provided through Siyahluma, are sourced from a local community-based social enterprise and are distributed for free throughout the Eastern Cape.

Siyahluma has also partnered with grade 12 learners from Victoria Girl’s High School drama class to establish the Siya-mensa production, which aims at teaching learners from primary to high school about menstruation.