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Theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – 16 Days of Activism – moving from awareness to accountability”




Posted: 25 November 2021

South Africa annually joins the international community as it participates in the Global 16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). Other key commemorative days during this period include World Aids Day on the 1st of December and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, on 3 December of every year.

Given the scourge of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in the South Africa, the extent and prevalence of GBVF cases, compounded by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, has triggered a ‘secondary pandemic’ in the country. According to 2019 research done by Wits School of Governance before the Coronavirus outbreak, the country already had five times higher than the global average for GBVF and the female interpersonal violence death rate was the fourth highest out of 183 countries listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2016. More than 120 000 cases were recorded by the GBV Command Council Centre in the first week of national lockdown. The latest stats released in the media by the South African Police Services during this month reveal that 2695 women are murdered every year in South Africa – that’s 1 woman every 3 hours.

National Government Programmes for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign

The 16 Days Campaign is championed and coordinated by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWPYD). Since 2019, the campaign was broadened to include issues of violence against the youth, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community and persons with disabilities and it also forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. The following are some of the initiatives:

  • Government together with civil society and the private sector will host a series of community, sector dialogues and activities to foster a collaborative effort in dealing with GBVF.
  • National Parliamentary debates, NCOP and Provincial Legislature briefings.
  • Implementation of the Emergency Response Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2019.

SALGA Initiatives for 16 Days of Activism Campaign

  • SALGA will be embarking on and coordinating the following activities:
    The “Blow the Whistle Campaign in support of the global campaign of Ban Ki-Moon’s “UNiTE to End VAW” that was launched in 2008. Old Mutual is partnering with SALGA in support of the initiative by providing whistles and pepper sprays that will be distributed to vulnerable community members in particular the elderly women living alone, child headed households led by girls in the participating municipalities.
  • Collaboration with Joe Slovo Foundation supported by Microsoft to provide free community training courses on the prevention of Gender Based Violence and Abuse for communities throughout South Africa, including remote rural areas. The training and educational courses will enable SALGA and municipalities to broaden and deepen their knowledge of GBV in order that they may undertake more effective preventive measures in their own local communities.
  • Municipalities will also be introduced to APPS that provide a way to access data and get a picture about where and when GBVF occurs in their areas of jurisdiction. The APPS will assist with information to improve policing and development of community prevention programmes on GBVF.
  • The SALGA Women’s Commission (SWC) will be joining hands with other organisations and stakeholders across all nine provinces as part of the collective efforts on the campaign to end violence against women and children.

Former Miss Universe & GBVF Ambassador, Zozibini Tunzi once said “I think it is time to stop asking women what to do and … to start treating women the way that they deserve to be treated”.

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