Lieutenant General R. Maphwanya handing over hygiene parcels to female officers, after which a near 324 female enlistees line up – Doornkop, Johannesburg.
Lieutenant General R. Maphwanya handing over hygiene parcels to female officers, after which a near 324 female enlistees line up – Doornkop, Johannesburg.

In gratitude to the many South African soldiers who are women – and who will be unable to celebrate Mother’s Day with their children today – a women’s veteran’s organisation handed out female hygiene parcels to over 300 female soldiers on Friday.

Soldier being interviewed explains the unique issues faced by women on patrol, including unpredictable periods.
Soldier being interviewed explains the unique issues faced by women on patrol, including unpredictable
periods.

Former Umkhonto weSizwe and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) member, Granny
Seape, said that it was “very rare that people say thank you to the men and women that
defend our country”… and that Manza Women’s Investment Club would like to change that.

The organisation handed out 324 hygiene packs to female members of the 21 Infantry
Battalion, at Doornkop military base, in recognition of their service in battling the Covid-19 pandemic and of Mother’s Day, on which many deployed soldiers would not be able to celebrate with their families.

Female soldiers line up to receive “ladies packs” in an orderly fashion.
Female soldiers line up to receive “ladies packs” in an orderly fashion. All photos by TOM BROWN.

Earlier, Brigadier General R.J. Coetzee berated media coverage of the SANDF joint
enforcement operation, saying that too little focus was given to the good work being
done by soldiers on the ground.


The SANDF has come under criticism for supposed ‘disproportionate force’ in carrying out their mandate.

A similar sentiment was shared by Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General R.
Maphwanya, who also called on South Africans to “come together” in “eradicating this
pandemic”.

Below are some other photos from the event:

Soldiers remove their berets for a prayer by the Chaplain General.
Soldiers remove their berets for a prayer by the Chaplain General.

21 Infantry Battalion members in formation for the event
21 Infantry Battalion members in formation for the event

Tom Brown is a photographer based between India and South Africa, specializing in street, event and documentary photography. Follow Tom on Instagram.