Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a crisis globally and specifically in South Africa with the prevalence of ‘femicide’, where between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime and many more sexual harassments in the public space (Saferspaces.org.za).
More organisations need to join the campaign against this crisis. Which is why we are excited to accompany Diski Nine 9 since 2018 already, an organisation that uses sport as a tool to deliver development and educational programmes to young activists and the broader Soweto community. In 2021, their GBV programme was divided into modules that unpack the causes of GBV, its impact as well as what role we as active citizens can play in order to create safer communities. Their work has generated additional community action groups, which have created spaces in the community to address GBV issues, making anti-GBV campaigns community-led. As a result, reaffirming that active citizenship is the key to creating just and safe communities and therefore, thriving democracies. Four community dialogues were held in Soweto focusing on Mental Health and its effects on GBV, abuse within our homes and communities as well as on the LGBTQIA+ community and their experience of GBV. These dialogues inspired more initiatives outside the scope of the project. We have a broader anti-GBV campaign to look forward to in 2022, a podcast titled “Magents Asikhulume”.
Beyond this fruitful cooperation with Diski Nine 9, we realize that we also have to work on ourselves: As FES Johannesburg, we have developed a sexual harassment policy this year, establishing norms and mechanisms to prevent and react to cases both in the workplace and in FES activities.