International relations / Africa news
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula congratulated Seitebatso Pearl Block on scooping the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award.
"One cannot but salute Major Block for her hard work and dedication while serving in the DRC. Her commitment to the protection of civilians, especially women and children has been inspiring. As a peace and goodwill ambassador in her own right, she is an epitome of what every member of the SANDF should be," said Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.
The award recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles within the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
Block received her award at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial (UNPKDM) Conference held in Vancouver, Canada.
Block has been an officer since 2007 and has been deployed twice to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the leadership of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Her first deployment was in 2010 as an Information Operations Officer. When she was deployed again in 2016, she also served as a Force Intervention Brigade Planner.
She is hailed for developing a number of strategic projects adopted and launched by MONUSCO. During her tenure as an Information Operations Officer, she worked closely with different MONUSCO sections such as Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration, Resettlement (DDRRR), UN Mine Action Services (UNMAS), Protection of Civilians (PoC) and Gender & Child Protection. She was also instrumental in the implementation of a project aimed at reaching out and disseminating information to women's organisations in far-flung areas of the DRC.
The Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, will lead the South African delegation attending the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference on behalf of the Minister.