Zambia’s women protest against gender-based violence

In Zambia, after the inauguration of President Hakainde Hichilema last month, more than a thousand people took to the streets of Lusaka to protest over violence against women, holding placards that read: “My clothes are not my consent”; “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes”; and “Don’t tell me how to dress, tell them not to rape”.

The march was led by women and was intended to remind the new administration that protecting the country’s women should be at the top of the agenda.

Zambia is not an easy place to be a woman. About 17% of women in Zambia have experienced sexual violence, according to consultancy firm Oxford Policy Management, and the country faces some of the highest rates of reported gender-based violence in the world.

“In Zambia we report 18 000 cases of sexual gender-based violence every year, meanwhile over 80% of SGBV [sexual and gender-based violence] cases go unreported,” said Ann Holland, the co-founder of the NGO, Sistah Sistah. Sistah Sistah organised the Lusaka protest.

“Our elected officials do nothing. Our systems don’t work, from our police, hospitals and courts. Zambia can boast about how peaceful it is, but it can’t hide the stench of rapists and the fear women live with,” said Holland.

The majority of protesters were young women. 

In Zambia, where half the electorate is under the age of 40, this is especially significant, said Holland. 

Having played a part in bringing Hichilema to power through the ballot box, this generation now wants to see the change they voted for, she said. This article first appeared in The Continent, the pan-African weekly newspaper designed to be read and shared on WhatsApp. Download your free copy here

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Samira Sawlani
Samira Sawlani
Samira Sawlani is a writer, journalist and analyst, specialising in East Africa.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder hurts oppressed people

The journalist is among more than 50 reporters who have died at the hands of the Israeli regime and is remembered for bravely giving a voice to Palestinians

Corporal punishment in rural schools is ‘big challenge’ for South...

The council received 169 corporal punishment complaints in 2020-21

Eskom ramps up load-shedding to stage 4

Unit at Kusile power station trips, taking 720 megawatts of generating capacity with it.

Zimbabweans stuck in limbo in South Africa

The legal challenge to Zimbabwean Exemption Permit deadline in December is being led by the controversial Simba Chitando, who is the head of Zanu-PF’s Sandton branch and whose uncle is Zimbabwe’s mining minister
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×