The Directorate Spiritual Care hosted their second DCS Female Chaplains’ mentoring programme from 15 to 17 August 2018 in Witbank Management Area. Significantly, the session was held during Women’s Month and in the centenary year of the great struggle icon, Mama Albertina Sisulu. The purpose of the session was to coach and mentor female chaplains as rehabilitators in the department under the theme “Shaping women of fortitude towards excellence”.
DCS has 15 female chaplains, placed in management areas and head office. They were encouraged to identify mentors within the department for coaching and acquiring of institutional knowledge. Director Spiritual Care, Rev (Dr) Menzi Mkhathini said the session would also focus on professional development. He said women chaplains must chronicle their ministerial journeys within correctional services and have their experiences captured so that the information can be an accessible resource to their successors.
UNISA professor in the department of Practical Theology, Prof. Marilyn Naidoo, spoke about the need to build cultural competence and training in diversity, taking into account the multi-faceted DCS environment.
Gauteng Regional Commissioner, Grace Molatedi said women have to develop themselves. “Women have a bigger role to play and they should not let societal rules and norms dictate to them where they want to be. In juggling their multiple roles, women often feel guilty when they have to prioritise their career, sometimes at the expense of their families.”
Prayer, laughter and sombre moments characterised the session as women chaplains exposed their vulnerability in their roles as female rehabilitators in a society that can be brutal towards women. They all shared one view that their strength is found in embracing their true selves as women and not trying to emulate men. There was an overwhelming concurrence on the need to create safe spaces for women to support and co-mentor each other, which will enable them to excel in their workplace.
DC Personal Well-being Shishi Sello spoke about the DCS Code of Conduct. She said the chaplains are public servants before they are chaplains. She encouraged them to lead and make an impact in the department. “One of the major responsibilities of a public servant is to create an environment in which values are established and exemplary models are set to improve service delivery,” she said.
Director Gender and Employment Equity Ayanda Bonani, whose directorate has partnered with Spiritual Care, presented the Sexual Harassment Policy and she mentioned the need for spiritual care interventions for the well-being of employees. She also recognised the need for formal platforms that enable rehabilitators to debrief.