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Nonkanyiso Conco – Married to the Zulu Culture

Nonkanyiso Conco, fondly known as Laconco speaks passionately to Blazon Magazine about her desires to effect change in every woman and young person she comes across. Through her NGO and various endeavors, she is reaching out to influential ladies like herself to inspire women to live purposeful lives.

We are at a point in SA, where gender based violence keeps rising, as a woman of influence, what more do you think should be done to stop this?

Most efforts are focused on responses and services for survival, however the best way to end GBV and prevent it from happening is by addressing the root cause. 90% of the time root causes are not treated but symptoms are. Prevention of this should start at a early stage – by educating and working with boys and girls.
Working with the youth I believe, will be best for faster, sustained and successful prevention of GBV. It is critical when values and norms around gender are forged at an early age.

Some people argue that our culture and traditions as South Africans is part of the cause for the GBV. What’s your opinion?

Culture teaches us respect, values, unity and spiritually. So culture cannot undermine what it teaches, represents and be a cause of GBV. If we can understand what culture really is, and maintain African tradition and customs, we will be able to deal with violence in our society

As a Zulu lady, how best can we keep up with the modern times yet maintain a sense of tradition and culture?

It all begins from knowing who you are, if you are a content woman, trends will come but you remain original. Keeping your culture and tradition happens naturally if you have established where you coming from, and acknowledged your roots. The mentality of “if LaConco is doing it, I can do it too” not considering that we have different purposes and vision in life is wrong. Yes you may be inspired by someone else, but who you are never fades away from your image that you carry. Ubonakale ngisho ufake make up neqoks, ukuthi lo ibhinca!
Knowing your brand takes time, it’s a journey but it’s possible. Each and every woman carries a unique brand and If we can all embrace one another with out differences, we can be a more beautiful nation.
Tell us about the Women in Conversation initiative
Women in Conversation seminars is a platform of women where we break barriers. It features a panel of inspiring women leaders and influencers who give deep perspective of issues women go through on a daily basis. I believe women are hungry for knowledge on how to live healthier, happier lives. We see this every day by the level of involvement in the community, and their desire to learn how to make safe & healthy choices to protect themselves and their families from toxic decisions. The seminar brings guests from across the host province with a goal of communicating a new way to approach life challenges.
Some of the topics we have covered include marriage contacts, building your brand and business; Bride and in-law’s dynamics; Owning your throne; Mental health; Vaginal care and more.

Sikhanyisa iSizwe is your NGO. Tell us how and why you started the NGO as a young lady

Sikhanyisa iSizwe meaning brightening the nation, was born more than 3 years ago. It started when I realized that every time I engage with a woman, whether in a salon, restaurant or at work, they are drawn to me when I speak. I would give an advice or say encouraging words then the next thing a person asks for my details  and would want to talk to me further.
Sometime ago when I was in one of the salons in Sandton City, I was speaking to the nail tech on how we women are so emotional even on things that need you to apply your thinking cap. I said “sometimes we loose what is precious to us because of emotions” and the lady next to us started weeping and I asked why, she said she left her husband because she was angry and look today how she is a struggling single parent. She says “you touched me so hard when you spoke about emotions”. There are many incidences like these when I have touched peoples lives unprepared and unplanned.
I then saw a gap and decided to make it official and spend more time speaking and uplifting the youth and women around me. When I joined Instagram few years ago, it was just for me to post pictures, I didn’t know it will lead me to speaking to many people on my DMs daily.
“It’s the most delightful feeling getting a message from someone telling me what was bothering her has been solved because of somethings I shared on IG. Women don’t keep quiet, open up, there are many people on social media for a good purpose”.
Sikhanyisa iSizwe is a self run program. I do get some support from friends and the eThekwini municipality, who have assisted me a couple of times. Our government needs to invest more on programs who genuinely want to empower this country.

What are some of the issues Sikhanyisa iSizwe tackles as an organization?

SI is an entity that seeks to promote the well being of the youth and women. This Involves visiting schools, hosting dialogues, seminars and interface with an individual on a personal and interactive basis. SI is the first of its kind as we deliberate on matters affecting youth and women on a day to day basis. Some of the issues we tackle include – identifying what challenges the youth are facing today. Mutual understanding of who a teacher is – to end the outbreak of students abusing their teachers openly; Minimize the number of young age pregnancy, by paying attention not to only girls but boys collectively. We also conduct talks and seminars for women that will impact their lives positively.
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