BLACK FRIDAY – AN ACTION POINT FOR SOUTH AFRICA

Kgothatso Mokoena is from the YWCA of South Africa. Kgothatso has joined the World YWCA for a one-year internship with the Programme Department.

On February 2, 2013, just 6 weeks after news of the shocking incident of rape and murder of a young woman in India, a security guard found Anene Booysen, a 17 year old girl with parts of her intestines strewn next to her in the dirt at a construction site, in Capetown, South Africa. Before she died, Anene was gang raped. On February 14th, 172 countries across the world stood in unity with the One Billion Rising Campaign, including South Africa, with one voice to say “Enough is enough” and to demand an end to violence against women.

Elisa

Kgothatso Mokoena

The Booysen tragedy reached international headlines and South Africa’s society was seen as a place where rape of women and children occur often. However, I am touched by the apparent unity amongst Government and Civil Society Organisations that rose together to combat the issue and protest against such horrific acts of violence.

On February 15th, with one voice and one heart and as a reaction to the countless number of incidents of violence against women, South Africa came together to show support to the survivors of violence by wearing black. This symbolised that the country was in mourning once again. The campaign aimed to take a strong stand by sidelining all other priorities and remaining in solidarity with survivors and victims of Gender Based Violence.

On February 21, 2013, several NGOs (YWCA of South Africa included) held a dawn ceremony on Table Mountain in Cape Town. In Johannesburg, NGOs, CSOs and activists marched to the Commemoration Ceremony that took place at the Constitutional Hill to honour Anene Booysen and other victims.

Civil Society Organisations called for a Commission of enquiry and a Special Fund to end sexual violence. This motion was initiated by a letter that had been prepared to go to the President and the Minister of Finance, urging them to set aside R10 billion to support women’s organisations and to institute the Commission. The content of the letter to President Zuma will reflect upon the following:

The Commission on Sexual Violence will be appointed by the National President, and will be chaired by a senior jurist with the stature and experience to affect systemic change.

The commission will examine and provide recommendations to address the causes of violence, with a heavy focus on violence at the community and family levels, along with key obstacles in the implementation of laws which ensure that women and girls can enjoy their constitutional rights to their security, dignity and equality. There was a request for a special fund to prevent sexual violence which will provide support services to women and girls through NGOs and Non Profit Organisations that have a demonstrated track record of success in combating sexual violence.

We need to take pride and realise that the time for talking is long over, it is now time to act by fully implementing our promises, pledges and programmes.

Personally, I think men in our communities need to be involved as part of the process of change and they should take a stand. There can be no more excuses on the causes of rape and concrete action needs to be taken to stop it once and for all. Fathers must communicate to their sons that manhood is not achieved through violence and oppression of women.