Local 16 Days of Activism campaign kicks off
Different stakeholders in Knysna have joined forces for the 16 Days of Activism against women and children abuse and organised a series of events under the theme #HearMeToo: End Violence against Women and Children!
In solidarity with the annual national campaign launched on 25 November, the local chapter includes the following role players: Knysna CPF, SAPS, Famsa, Knysna Alcohol and Drug Centre, Correctional Services, youth police, Older Person Forum, The Total Shutdown activist movement, Knysna Initiative for Learning & Training, Victim Support and the Knysna Women Forum.
During their event at the Knysna Community Day Centre in Concordia on 3 December, those in attendance were entertained by Chris Nissen Primary School learners through their music and dance, and by poets Thembani Jodwana and Kamvalethu Matshona.
‘No longer a victim’
One of the keynote speakers was Cynthia Nkwalase who, having survived abuse at the hands of her husband, broke free after 27 years.
“I am no longer a victim of abuse but work with Knysna SAPS victim support to help other people get out of abusive relationships, and I hope they can be braver and walk out faster than I did,” she said.
Another was Nolufefe Mbalo, a community leader in the area, who commented on how the law seems to “nurse” the perpetrator instead of the victim. “We need victims to be protected and accommodated,” she said.
Famsa’s Busisiwe Mqulwana and Ju-anne Mabie-Lewis spoke about the counselling the organisation offers to victims and reminded people that their services are also available at the clinic when needed.
In a press release, the municipality announced a series of similar events for the duration of the campaign that ends on 10 December.
‘Society must stand together’
Mayor Mark Willemse said he is pleased that numerous stakeholders have come together for this important campaign. “Gender equality and the fight against abuse of women and children cannot be achieved by just one organisation.
“Society as a whole, government and private organisations all need to join hands… and I ask that this continues beyond 10 December.”
The campaign thus far included an HIV/ Aids Awareness event on 1 December at Buffalo Bay, followed by the Stop Gender Violence Initiative on 5 December at the Sanlam Mall.
On Saturday 8 December, the #SpeakOut event will take place at the Rheenendal community hall and the following day, the Stop Abuse Awareness event at “Die Parkie” at the corner of Oliphant Street and Kalendar Street in Hornlee. The campaign activities will be closed off with a Mother and Daughter Workshop at the Rheenendal community hall.
“I also call on the men of Greater Knysna to partake in these campaigns. We as men cannot put the burden of fighting genderbased violence on women only, we also need to take a stand and fight against this sort of abuse. Additionally, we need to start teaching our boys from an early age how to treat women with respect and dignity,” said Willemse.
Find out more
For any further information on the above programme, contact Lizel Baatjies on 044 302 6343 or lbaat[email protected]na.gov.za.