At least more than a thousand Joburg residents – mostly women, defied the scorching sun by walking a tortuous 5km walk to raise awareness against the gender-based violence yesterday, 26 November 2019, from Standard Bank Arena in Betrams.
The awareness walk traversed the suburbs of Bertrams, Troyville and Bezuidenhout Valley, with marchers carrying placards with messages which read “Real Men Don’t Abuse Women” and “Stop Women Abuse”
“Putting an end to the gender-based-violence starts with you. This was the message we are preaching to you today. It doesn’t matter even if we start as ten or a few thousands, it needs to start with us,” said the City of Joburg’s Chair of Chairpersons Cllr Alex Christians.
The awareness walk in the area was part of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. The walk was also attended by the MMC for Corporate and Shared Services Dr. Valencia Ntombi Khumalo, the Chairpersons of Section 79 Committees, Ward Councillor, community members and stakeholders. The event culminated into the sports day, whereby the community, politicians and officials participated in different sporting codes like netball, swimming, football, indigenous games amongst others.
“I want to put it to you, that why the campaign against women and children abuse must only last for 16 days? How about we move away from just 16 days to the whole 365 days? That for me is how I feel, that we should not have to wait for the 16 days to raise awareness about women and children abuse,” said MMC Khumalo.
Cllr Christians said the event was meant to bring the spotlight on gender-based violence, by mobilizing communities, government departments, non-governmental organisations and various stakeholders to play their part.
During the walk, a lot of women called for men to take the stand and support the initiatives to end abuse against women and children.
“We are here to support the campaign against the gender-based violence. I so wish that men could be here too to support this initiative. If you could see 99% of the people gathered here are women. There is a lot of abuse and kidnapping of women in our country. I wish our president can put his foot down and introduce tougher laws to deal with the perpetrators of gender-based-violence,” lamented Sarah Malatsi.
Beatrice Falatse from Braamfontein had this to say: “We are here to send the strong message to all men that, we are also human as women. Men must respect our rights.”
The Ward Councillor Mzwandile Tyobeka said: “We need to go back and ask why we have gender-based roles which are imposed by society. You will find these roles ensure that girl children and women are the ones that suffer the most while men enjoy the benefits.”