#TotalShutDown marchers take to streets across SA

The message was blunt – gender-based violence must “F off”.

Woman take part in the #Totalshutdown march against gender based violence, 1 August 2018, in Pretoria. The march was hosted in cities across the globe and aimed at calling for an end to gender based violence, rape and other challenges faced by woman in society. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Those were the words on a placard carried by a tearful Xoliswa Buthelezi in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

Another said: “My vagina is not your playground unless invited.”

Thousands of women gathered across the country to protest against gender-based violence and femicide as part of the #TotalShutDown march on Wednesday.

In Cape Town‚ some gathered at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and mothers who lost their children to gang violence met at the Castle of Good Hope before making their way to Parliament.

Ingrid Jones said her daughter was a first-year university student. “She’s on my Uber account so that she doesn’t have to walk or drive. You can’t be a student like that. You can’t live your life as a young woman like that. We panic every day. We’ve become helicopter parents.”

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Leslie Wyngaardt’s son was shot in the back of the head in Mitchells Plain. “God gives life and women give life to their children. It’s a part of you dying.

In Johannesburg‚ men of the cloth joined leaders of the ANC Women’s League in a march to Luthuli House. They highlighted that abuse happened‚ even in the church.

“What is happening currently is not only society but the church as well‚” Young Religious Leaders Gauteng Secretary Pastor Abel Mahachi said.

“We find these people with collars abusing women in the church so we are here to stand together as pastors and the women’s league to say we can do better – not only pray but to say no to women and child abuse and femicide. We are standing together. It is a progressive movement.”

Pastor Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng‚ who was also among the march leaders‚ said marches alone would not help. “I am now less on marches. My vision is that all those people who are raping and abusing‚ they need rehabilitation. They need Jesus‚” Mboro said‚ adding that they needed to be “born again”.

“I feel that this moral decay is because we are away from God. If in every corner we can start working together in spite of political and religious backgrounds or ethnic groups‚ that is the only way we can win‚” he added.

“We need to challenge those who are convicted and implicated in this. We need to ask them why they are doing this and what can we do to help them and pray. Until we win in the spirit‚ we are not going to win in the natural.”

SA Union Council of Independent Churches (SAUCIC) president Archbishop Modiri Shole and Pastor Dwain Ponsoby from the United Outreach Ministries in Eldorado Park also marched.

Ponsoby said the church had to remain relevant to the society and speak out against matters that affected congregants.

“We want to say that it is one thing for us as men of God to come and declare things in the atmosphere… but it is also the right of the woman to seek the face of God. That is the only way that the enemy cannot touch you because you are a child of God.”

ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini‚ Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane‚ Gauteng MEC for Sports‚ Arts‚ Culture and Recreation Faith Mazibuko and ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte led scores of women in Johannesburg.

They carried placards which read: “We remember Karabo Mokoena” and “We remember Popi Qwabe”.

Mokoena was killed and her body set alight by her boyfriend‚ Sandile Mantsoe in May 2017. Qwabe and her best friend were shot dead in Soweto in the same month after being kidnapped and robbed.

The group was expected to hand over a memorandum‚ outlining ways to deal with evil deeds against women‚ to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

In Pretoria‚ women marched to the Union Buildings.

In Durban‚ about 800 women called for the dismantling of patriarchy as they made their way to the city hall to hand over their memorandum.

And in East London more than 100 women marched to the city hall to hand over their memorandum to Buffalo City Mayor Xola Pakati.

The women clad in red and black apparel carried placards that read: “We stand as one.”

Another wrote: “Stop beating women‚ stop abusing us‚ my body is not your scene.”

As part of the #TotalShutdown marches that are happening across South Africa in protest against gender-based violence‚ a document containing 24 demands will be given to government‚ calling for action “now” and an end to gender-based violence.

“This document sets out our list of demands to the state. It’s an initial set of 24 demands that represent each year that the state has failed to ensure our right to be free from violence since the establishment of our constitutional democracy‚” the organisers said in a statement on Monday.

TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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