The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) would like to echo Denosa’s dismay and contempt at the attack of COSATU president Sdumo Dlamini by the so-called “Friends of the Youth League.”

In a response to Cde Dlamini’s speech delivered at the Young Communist’s League public lecture in Katlehong where he sounded a warning that the Federation was under attack from Malema and others and warned him not to exploit the Marikana tragedy for his narrow political gains, the “Friends of the Youth League” have resorted to sexism and gender stereotyping to chide Cde Sdumo.

A statement issued by the “Friends” kept referring to Cde Sdumo as “Sister Sdumo” portraying him as a person who is politically and ideologically bankrupt, cannot withstand violence and whose struggle credentials are questionable. 

The statement seeks to undermine and denigrate Cde Sdumo as a leader by using his profession which is mostly associated with women who are perceived to be the “weaker sex” and therefore Cde Sdumo is weak politically, ideologically and even physically.

Let the so-called "Friends" know that the nursing profession started in India in 250 BC where men were enrolled in schools to do nursing and as early as 1800`s a hospital in San Antonia could only admit men as nurses. These confused elements have a poorly skewed impression of what nursing really is. Don`t they know that nursing profession is not for the classroom jumpers? This noble profession which is respected world wide demands from those passionate men and women to have strong Maths and science skills. It demands good communication skills not verbal diarrhea that we have come to expect from these confused "Friends". The nursing profession demands excellent critical thinking skills to save lives by making quick decisions. It is a profession that demands from men and women tons of technical knowledge.

It is important that those so-called "friends" learn that nurses are not subordinates to doctors as they would want to perceive these professionals. Our job is to continue to teach our young people in our schools to quash these stereotypes that the so-called "friends" are spreading because of their ignorance.

The nursing profession is not the profession for the weak; it is for the brave and leaders. The founder nurse Florence Nightingale bears these traits.  In South Africa we have seen women at the forefront of the struggle like Lillian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Cecilia Makiwane were nurses. They not only cared but led as well. They used the profession to uplift our communities and to lead in the struggle against oppression.
The statement is not only an insult to Cde Sdumo but to the nursing profession as a whole. We call on the Friends of the Youth League retract it forthwith.  

Cde Sdumo is in COSATU today because of his tireless dedication to the struggle for workers in South Africa. He engaged with the employer on the shop-floor fighting for better working conditions. He has first hand experience of what it is like to wake up everyday, go to work and earn a salary through his sweat. Being a nurse does not mean he is
incapable of engaging in the struggle or maturing politically and ideologically.

Malema and his friends need to go back to learn that best arguments are won not by attacking the man but ideas. Comrade President Sidumo is the leader of the workers and we shall defend him with everything we have.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat