Adv. Boniswa Mzimba

Adv. Boniswa Mzimba
4 year diploma in nursing (general, community, psychiatry) & midwifery (upe/charlotte searle college) ba (health sciences & social services) with specialisation in psychology for professional contexts (unisa) bachelor of laws (llb) (ufh) master of laws (llm) – medico- legal aspects (unisa) – not yet completed
Powerhouse Development Services – NPO- 169-165
Presentation Title
Grief is Personal: A Perspective for EAP on Widowhood
Content Focus Area
Organisational Level
Gender Issues
Biographical information related to the topic
Advocate Boniswa Mzimba is a highly charged individual with experience as a clinician and a manager in both private and public health care which spans over 20 years. She has diverse experience in Health and the Law and in facilitation, coordination and driving institutional strategy.

She was widowed very young 16 years ago and following years of ad hoc work in support of vulnerable women, she formalised this passion by establishing PowerHouse Development Services in 2015, an organisation which provides widow wellness, widow empowerment and mediation services. The entity was registered in April 2016 as an NPO 169-165 .She is a registered nurse and a non-practising admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. She speaks in various platforms and is a founding member of many women empowerment initiatives, which include a women’s cooperative bank initiative.

Her innovative and solutions-based consulting strategies are designed to address the personal development needs that are unique to each client and their culture. One of her greatest strengths is her deep passion and commitment to improve the lives of widows and their children. Her greatest desire is to facilitate a rebirth of an environment where every widow is valued and supported holistically, the clear intention being to bring attention to their suffering and be a constant voice for their upliftment.

PowerHouse Development Services is an organisation in South Africa which acts as a sustainable voice for the socio-economic development, rights and total well-being of widows. Widowhood is a key developmental challenge. In 2011, Stats SA recorded just over 1.8 million widowers and widows. The Global Widow Report 2015 indicates that, of the estimated 258 million widows in the world, just over 1.4 million are in SA. Many of these widows and their children live in abject poverty.

Chief among the causes is the violence and abuse that is perpetuated against them. This includes violation of constitutional rights mascaraed as culture where widows are expected to undergo obscene rituals in order to inherit their rightful estates. They are often evicted from their rightful homes. Many are destitute and impoverished for fear of their lives as they choose to leave their homes and belongings behind.
There is, however, a cohort of widows who, in fulfilling their new role as heads of households and also recognizing their need to provide for their families, fight on a brave frontier by remaining in employment. While national legislation protects the rights widows and also affords widows much latitude to manage their own affairs and defend their family interests, Employee Assistance Programmes have not been responsive enough in catering for this special and growing group of people.
Widows can act independently and occupy positions of authority, however, the sudden shift in the family status with its resultant challenges can overwhelm even the strongest of individuals. Whilst, grief is a process and workplace programmes do offer psycho-social support services, widows would benefit immensely from a workplace widow wellness programme that is designed for them as part of managing diversity and promoting inclusion.

Session Description
 The presentation will, among others, give accounts of cases of widows that the organisation has dealt with including experiences of widows in the workplace. This information is shared at the workshops and or seminars, consultations etc.The language of delivery will be English.
Learning Objective 1
It is envisaged that the session will give attention to the suffering of widows and thus expose a specific area of development within Employee Assistance Programmes. The attendees will be challenged to examine whether they can say that, in their quest to assist widows in the workplace, they had adequately provided such assistance, taking cognisance of the generalised nature of that assistance. It is hoped that the presentation will not only incite debate but further employee assistance programme evaluation, in view of this neglected group of people.
Audience Level