Mother and Daughter Launch a Holistic Health & Wellness Movement in UGU District Municipality

HEALTH SPA IN A TOWNSHIP” STARTS A HEALTH & WELLNESS MOVEMENT FOR WOMEN OF THE LOWER SOUTH COAST

It has been said that women are “inzala bantu” and hold families together. This is true even for women all over the world, even those in the UGU District. However, the reality is that these same women, young and old, have many social ills that they deal with on a daily basis. From gender inequality, physical, sexual and emotional health issues; to financial stresses, personal relationships and family related matters, women find themselves burdened by a quadruple load of physical and mental diseases that affect their wellbeing and livelihood of the community they live in.

The UGU District Municipality is 84% rural and 16% urban, boasts a spectacular coastline of 112 kilometres on the Lower South Coast of Durban, South Africa’s prime tourism destination, and according to the Household Survey Data, Statistics SA (2017) has a population of 709, 918 when compared to the KZN Province, which has a large population of 10,259,230. UGU boasts numerous historical, religious and cultural assets and growing business investment opportunities, but the socio-economic opportunities that exist here are untapped nor are they realised due to a cycle of challenges that face its residents.

The district has one of the highest HIV/AIDS affections where in Gamalakhe Township alone, 39.9% of young women under the age of 15 tested HIV positive and 63.2% of women older than 15 tested positive for HIV. Gamalakhe Township is one of the most thriving communities in the district yet suffers from communicable diseases such as TB, lower respiratory conditions and diarrhoea, as well as non-communicable diseases such as stroke, trauma and HIV/AIDS. It is for this reason that mother and daughter, Thuli B and Phumi B, co-founded Honey B Spa, a health and wellness business in their local community, to make holistic health and well-being accessible to women who would not normally have access to such services.

A lot of organizations in the country are doing their part in addressing social ills through empowering women and creating jobs; however, there is a missing link in undertaking a holistic health and well-being approach that meets the women where they are. We as Honey B Health & Wellness Spa are playing our unique role of working with the mind, body and soul to capacitate women from townships and rural areas by transforming their lives and make an impact in the community.

Launched in September 2016 after losing our husband and father to diabetes, we take unemployed HIV/AIDS affected women in the community, train them with professional beauty therapy and counselling skills and employ them as beauty therapists and counsellors, so they can make a living whilst enabling Honey B Spa to provide its health and wellness services at affordable prices to community members.

In our 18 months of existence, Honey B Spa has found that there is an urgent need to go deep in addressing the root cause of the ills that women in the community are dealing with. Hence, we launched VUK’ UZITHATHE which is a holistic approach to women’s health and empowerment; focusing on the MIND, BODY & SOUL.

Mother and daughter brought their personal insights and professional work experience together to break the cycle and start a movement of health and wellness to empower and capacitate others physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Phumi B, is a 33-year-old marketing expert, co-founder of Honey B Spa and serves as the Chairperson of the UGU Young Women Structure. She says that it excites her to see private sector, public sector and women from all walks of life come together under the umbrella of empowering one another with health and wellness practical info and tips through the business that she started in 2016 with her mother, a qualified Psychiatric Nurse.

Thuli B is a 64-year-old psychiatric nurse that has worked for more than 3 decades in the public sector and spent 9 of those years in the private health sector in the United Kingdom. Throughout her experience as a health practitioner, Thuli B has discovered that often the physical symptoms her patients suffer from, all with start with mind-related matters. Given that mental health is something that is not spoken about in township and rural communities, Thuli has created a special way that she engages with clients to make them feel comfortable, free and trusting enough to share their issues. She is now passing on that skill and knowledge to up and coming counsellors who are employed by Honey B Spa.

This past weekend Honey B Spa hosted an interactive Health and Wellness Day for 100 women, where various health-related activities took place throughout the day. They included dance fitness, health status testing on blood pressure, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS which were all underpinned with professional counselling from Bhobhoyi Clinic’s nursing staff. Interactive talks on mental health, teambuilding exercises to enhance sisterhood and embracing womanhood were all designed to transform the minds of these women and promote lifelong learning. Finance advice and car tips for women were presented by Sanlam and BMW Supertech respectively. Honey B Spa spoilt each lady with express massage treatments; highlighting the importance of taking care of oneself and everyone freshened up with pamper hampers from Unilever Personal Care Brands. The day ended with a fun fashion show, food for the soul by a local pastor and a “letting go” therapeutic session.

This health and wellness empowerment event was the 2nd anuula event to be hosted by Honey B Spa and will continue to be a movement that empowers women in townships and rural areas to overcome their physical and mental health challenges; thus living a life they and their loved ones deserve.

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