Protests against gender based violence in South Africa occurred outside Parliament in Cape Town, on September 4th and 5th. The protests come after the rape and murder of 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana and several other women; Lynette Volschenk, Jesse Hess and Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels.
The #aminext movement should resound as a dead-end to the tragedies that have plagued South Africa for decades. We need to ensure and reinforce that no one is next, I am not next, you are not next, we should refuse to be next and in fact decide that enough is enough, kwanele, femicide and rape in South Africa need to come to an end and with the current upheaval, now should be the beginning of the end – things have to change. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.
Gender based violence has been a longstanding part of South Africa's history, some incidents of which have not been reported or recorded and statistics show that the country has higher levels of gender based violence than any other conflict free country in the world (see statistics here). In the dawn of the fight for change, women cannot be silenced. What is currently happening is an uproar and a demand from women for men to do better. Collectively, we need to protect women. Women have carried this country on their backs, they have birthed, raised and taken care of all of us, mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. To all the men in this country; we need you to do better.
However, as much as we can protest and speak out for change. The power lies in what our government and in what the political powers that be, will do to ensure change happens.
The visuals of the protests were captured by Fynn Wilson, who says: "I emplore all (of us) men to utilize our privilege to stimulate discussion and spark positive action - keep tabs on each other, have uncomfortable conversations, call each other out. Now is not the time for excuses, now is the time for accountability, get involved in the process where you can play your part in the solution. Be informed, ignorance is inexcusable." Women, lets all be aware, let's support each other, and heal collectively. How can we begin to heal? We need to speak out about any injustices that we have experienced at the hands of men, get involved in the fight for change, get counseling, support groups, speak to your support system, don't hold in guilt or shame for having experienced any form of abuse, it is not your fault.
And for anyone who wants to be involved in the fight for positive change, there are several petitions going around such as: Parliament needs declare Gender Based Violence in South Africa a State of Emergency. There are also several protests outside several Johannesburg High schools today and two at Wits University on September 9th and 10th.
And on the 11 of September the country is having a complete shutdown, women and girls will not be going to work or school. Change is necessary.