Galz Up sets stage for friendship

SISTERHOOD: Rhonda Dettman has started a social media group for single, widowed, divorced or lonely women Picture: BARBARA HOLLANDS
SISTERHOOD: Rhonda Dettman has started a social media group for single, widowed, divorced or lonely women Picture: BARBARA HOLLANDS
Rhonda  Dettman has a staunch drive to match-make. As the former owner of a dating agency called Date Right in the 1990s, she successfully matched 18 clients to their perfect partners, and now she is on a quest to ensure East London women make friends with each other.

Dettman, 55, started the Galz Up group on Facebook in November because she wanted to meet new friends and knew other women in East London wanted company too.

“None of us like to go to clubs alone and where else can you meet new friends? There are many book clubs but they are usually groups of women who know each other already,” said Dettman, a hairdresser who owns Cuts by Rhonda in Vincent.

“My husband is a farm manager so he’s away from Monday to Friday and so I thought there must also be other women who want to go for a walk on the beach or out for a coffee.”

Dettman’s first stop was Facebook. “I asked if there were any lonely women out there who wanted to be part of a group and now we have 53 women aged from about 35 to 70 who are members on our closed Facebook page and on our Whatsapp group.”

The group meets once a week at Buffs Club, where an inspirational talk is followed by dinner and drinks or coffee.

Dettman said the aim of the gatherings was for single, divorced, lonely or widowed women to find like-minded friends and her game plan seems to be working.

“We started in November and when we met in January some of them told me they had spent Christmas and New Year together and I thought ‘that’s what this is about!’.

“There was also a situation where one of the members needed her mother picked up from hospital and one of the women stepped in. It’s about the little helpful things we can do to help each other.”

And, while some of the women prefer to remain purely Whatsapp friends, Dettman would like more of them to attend the monthly gatherings where the Grease song We Go Together is the mantra.

“I’ve followed up on why some women haven’t come along and found that a couple of them have a phobia of going out, so we may arrange one-on-one meetings if they prefer.”

Some members have also decided to extend themselves as a group to help others.

“At the last meeting we brought baby goods for Guardians of Hope and at our next one we will bring dog food for Buckaroo. On August 26 we are having a small market at Cavendish House in Vincent to raise money for charity.”

Diane de Beyer, 53, a divorcee with two adult children, said she joined Galz Up because she is sociable and wants to make more single friends.

“It’s the old story where married women don’t want a third person hanging around.”

Divorcee Fifi Marriott, 54, said most of her friends were married and she wanted to meet people.

“I also want to help women who are in abusive relationships because I have experienced this. The talks have been eye-opening and the meetings are just a nice night out.”

  • All women are welcome to join the group by calling Dettman on 079-085-7528. —