Colourful march against violence
Brave men took to the streets in high heels in Mossel Bay, showing their support for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence on Friday, 23 November.
The march down Adriaans Avenue, Asla Park, was supported by representatives from various state departments, churches, NGOs, businesses and members of the community.
"Today we say no to violence against women and children. I am wearing heels. I am out of my comfort zone, to say count me in," said Vuyo Mfumbe, a youth developer and activist.
Another marcher, Stephan Wesso, soon followed suit, being applauded by his female colleagues as he donned a pair of lacecovered high heels, holding his protest poster high.
Clergymen representing the Congregational and Catholic Churches walked up front, alongside the head of the Mossel Bay Correctional Youth Centre, Zweli Sofuthe.
The march ended at the Thusong Centre, where speakers addressed the participants. Manager of the Thusong Centre, Nomzi Jika said that it is important to invite all men to join the campaign. "We must bear in mind that not all men are abusers. Let us count them in." She called on the Justice Department to give realistic sentences in an attempt to curb gender-based violence.
Colonel Una Saayman, deputy commander of the Da Gamaskop police cluster said statistics on rape cases reported at the 11 stations in the cluster, are alarming.
"In many cases, the threats are no longer unknown parties but far too often people known to the victims. "It shows how sick our society has become."She urged everyone to speak out and promote a message of caring. "If we care for one another, we will not hurt one another."
She also commented that bullying at schools is a form of violence that the community should be concerned about. She urged people to be kind, to do good and to live a humble life in support of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
The march concluded with the signing of pledges in support of the campaign.
Marchers sang gospel songs as they proceeded down Adriaans Avenue. Clergymen taking the lead, alongside the head of the Mossel Bay Correctional Youth Centre. INSET: Vuyo Mfumbe braved Adriaans Avenue in these high heels to show solidarity with victims of gender based violence.