Actress Keke Mphuthi uses birthday to celebrate women and address GBV scourge
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Johannesburg - Actress Keke Mphuthi celebrated her birthday in style at the weekend, with an event to celebrate women.
Mphuthi turned 30 on February 16, but wanted to hold out on the celebrations to make sure she could share it with family, friends and industry colleagues.
“I really wanted to celebrate differently, to experience a breath of fresh air. We’ve been in a pandemic and our industry has been the pits lately. I wanted to give back. I’m a bishop’s kid, my mom’s a pastor, so I wanted to give back the best way I know how, and that has been through prayer.”
The actress said the one thing her mother and her grandmother taught her was that women who pray together break barriers they did not know they could break.
“I woke (up) one day after dreaming about a situation like this, but in my head, there were so many women. I wanted it to be 30 women on my 30th.
“In my dream, it was all these women praying, and most of them were familiar faces in industry and personal friends. My dreams are messages more than anything and I knew this was a direction God wanted me to take, to liberate women.”
Mphuthi said the perception of women in society can be negative, with assumptions that they can never stand together.
“It’s as if we have no backbone. Men pick on us knowing exactly how we pick on each other. I wanted to break those boundaries society has put on us, especially women in the entertainment industry. The savagery we are exposed to and the expectations people have about us being humble and godly. It’s a lot of pressure.”
The actress said she wanted to use her power of praying: “I want women to stand with me and change the ‘norm’ with me. I didn’t know how I was going to put this event together but because God is who He is, people started to jump on the idea.”
The event, By Women For Women, was hosted at Jenna Clifford Jewellers in Morningside.
“I had to shorten the guest list to 15, but I’d already sent out invitations to 45 women. I asked God to let the ones who needed to be there, be there. And that’s what happened. So many people took the initiative for this event, and I loved that most of the sponsors and brands that came on board were women brands. This was a proper closing to my birthday month.”
Topics for the day included gender-based violence (GBV), depression, unemployment, motherhood, sisterhood and being a woman.
“GBV has rocketed. Women have lost their power, we’ve become insecure. We’ve lost family and friends, and don’t have a sense of comfort because we can’t even touch each other. I found the best way we could touch each other would be through prayer and knowing that we have each other’s backs, knowing we’re still rooting for each other. We have to take back our power as women. We can’t have men think they have control over us, forgetting we hold the power. We need to take our place back. My way of cementing ourselves is through unity.”
The mother of one would love to make this event an annual affair. It was attended by Zizo Tshwete, the Cent Twins, Sthandiwe Kgoroge, Didie Makobane, Thandy Matlaila and more.
“These are people who are young and mature in the industry, and are women. We had so many conversations together and, in that space, we felt vulnerable enough to stand together. It was a beautiful setting and I would love to have more.”
Mphuthi, who is best known for her roles on The Throne and the first season of Unmarried, and will be back on the screen for all the fans who have missed her.
“I’m back on screen but I can’t disclose where at the moment, so this celebration was also for that. Very soon everybody will hear where and how,” she said.