The start of Women’s Month in South Africa will be marked by countrywide marches and pickets over violence against women, children and gender non-conforming people.
“We have nothing to celebrate on 9 August,” said the organisers of #TheTotalShutdown, referring to the annual commemoration of the women’s march against apartheid passes.
“Every week, we receive multiple reports of women, children, and gender non-conforming people who have been brutally murdered, kidnapped, or abused, and there is no sense of urgency from our leaders to find ways in which society can tackle this violence.”
Gender non-conforming is a term to describe people who do not conform with the “norm” of what a woman or man should look like.
The organisers want the violence to stop, and have called for support by either joining the protests, or avoiding working or spending money for the day.
“If you can’t march, please step away from work for a moment of solidarity from 1pm to 1.30pm or longer if possible.”
The organisers have also asked employers to give staff time off to be part of the “shutdown”.
Marches will take place in all nine provinces as well as in Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.
Twenty-four demands will be put forward in memoranda handed over during marches.
These include that the president not appoint anybody implicated in gender-based violence.
The Department of Women has also announced that August 1 will be regarded as a day of mourning for victims of gender-based violence, and that it will join activists in their call for the violence to stop.
“To mark the start of Women’s Month, we call on all South Africans to join the national moment of silence … during lunch time. We urge both men and women to wear black clothes and form a human chain on the streets in front of their offices, homes or social places to remember women and children who are victims of violence,” said Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini. — News24