Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters has kicked off September is the most awesome way. Having been almost hijacked earlier this year, she has started the Unbreakables campaign to assist women to not only empower themselves physically, but also to learn defensive driving.

The workshops are rolling out at a number of venues throughout Gauteng and one in Cape Town. Unbreakable takes place at Sun International’s Times Square in Pretoria as well as community centres in Diepsloot, Soweto, Mamelodi and Observatory. 

Nel-Peters was inspired to launch Unbreakable because of the attempted hijacking she experienced earlier this year: “It was an awful experience but I knew how to handle the situation in the best possible way, because I had done WIP and MasterDrive workshops for women that focused on everything from hijacking and robberies and how to handle these situations, to how to get out of toxic and abusive relationships.

Nel-Peters has worked closely on the initiative with Mark Grobbelaar, a 6th Dan karate expert, who gave up his corporate job to create an organisation called Woman INPowered (WIP) which aims to empower women when faced with life-threatening situations.

She has also collaborated with MasterDrive, an advanced driver training company. “The Unbreakable campaign aims to educate, uplift and empower South African women. This they can start to do by taking care of themselves and making wise decisions.” she says.

“I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and the information I learnt on these courses certainly helped me. So now – together with Mark – we will set up similar workshops.”

The inspiration behind WIP is Alison Botha, who endorses the programme. In December 1994, Alison was abducted outside her home by two men who raped, stabbed and disembowelled her. They slashed her throat and left her for dead. Alison survived. Since then she has become a motivational speaker, author and was the subject of the acclaimed documentary film Alison, which became the first South African movie to be shown at Los Angeles’ prestigious Dances with Films film festival.

Says Grobbelaar: “We aim to change the way women view self-defense by seeing the power in being able to take control and, by doing so, changing the outcome of a situation. It is extremely simple, easy to learn and yet devastatingly effective.”

Says Eugene Herbert, managing director of MasterDrive: “Whenever we hear that our hijack extraction course has been of real use to someone, it is always gratifying. Being hijacked is an extremely traumatising experience and, if our course helps someone think through the fear, even in some small way, there is no greater reward. Our objective is to help every person who ever finds themself in this unfortunate position, escape it safely. I encourage every person who learns these skills to share them with as many as possible.” 

Workshops are free and are limited to 150 women. Booking, which is essential, is on first come, first serve basis. Book on Miss South Africa website.

Workshop dates are as follows:

2 Sept – Stanza Bopape Health & Community Development Centre, Mamelodi at 09h00.

9 Sept – Observatory Community Centre, Cape Town at 12h00

23 Sept – The HIV/Aids Awareness Project & Youth Development, Soweto at 09h00.

23 Sept – Vuselela Ulwazi Lwakho Drop-in Centre, Diepsloot at 12h00

30 Sept – Times Square at 10h00.

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