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September 11, 2022

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On the 25th of November 2022 the “Collectively addressing Sexual Gender-Based Violence Fenocide (SGBVF)”programme was launched in Thohoyandou by Old Mutual Foundation in partnership with the Collen Mashawana Foundation and the Centre for mental Wellness and Leadership. The launch aims to mobilize stakeholders’ joint efforts to combat SGBVF in Thohoyandou, and identify strategies to address the drivers and root causes of SGBVF, as well as to raise awareness and sensitize stakeholders.

 

Thohoyandou is one of the 30 Gender – Based Violence (GBV) hotspots identified by police Minister, Bheki Cele in 2020. It remains one of the five areas hardest hit with highest levels of reported GBV cases, according to police statistics. Recent police statistics, which were shared during the 2nd presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence on 1 – 2 November 2022, indicated that the Thohoyandou police station was recorded to have fifth highest reported gender based violence cases in South Africa. This makes Thohoyandou a site of national importance in efforts to address Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the country.

 

In response to this, the deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture requested the Old Mutual Foundation to assist with interventions to address Sexual Gender Based Violence and Femicide in Thohoyandou. This request was based on the successful intervention that the Old Mutual Foundation in partnership with the Centre of Mental Wellness and Leadership implemented in the Eastern Cape from March to August 2022.

 

The programme commenced with a march in Thohoyandou on the 24th of November, marking the beginning of 16 Days of Activism under the global theme “UNITE! activism to end Violence against women and girl”. The march ended at the SAPS Thohoyandou where a special request was made for the police to unite with the community in the fight against SGBVF.

Collen Mashawana, Founder.

The 5KM walk was followed by a Men’s Dialogue held at the Thohoyandou Indoor Sport Centre where the men’s dialogue was held. The dialogue was facilitated with the assistance from Act Now, the Green Development Foundation, Unique Me and SABC Limpopo on the 24th of November 2022. During the sit-in, all of the male attendees discussed GBV triggers and preventative tactics. After the conversation a tree planting session was held where participants each planted a baobab tree as a symbol of unity, hope and rebirth to a new journey.

 

During the official launch on the 25th November, various stakeholders including the University of Venda, Private Sector, Local Business, Traditional Leaders, Faith Based organisation and Community Based Organisations were given platform to support and commit to the programme. The purpose was to coordinate Stakeholder efforts to combat SGBVF, raise awareness and identify workable solutions for dealing with the factors contributing to SGBVF.

 

This initiative was a convincing illustration of what can be accomplished when people work together to solve issues, help one another, and share knowledge to improve one another.

 

If gender based violence is to be eradicated, there needs to be a concerted collective effort from all sectors and the time has come for us to take action and accountability!

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