Emotional scenes play out at the Pietermaritzburg #TotalShutDown march
Thousands of women have marched on the streets of the KwaZulu-Natal Capital City, Pietermaritzburg to hand over a memorandum demanding an end to gender based violence. This was the beginning of a month-long activities to fight against gender based violence during the women’s month.
They’re demanding government to establish a comprehensive process to address and reduce women abuse in the country. Some women taking part in Wednesday’s march have recalled their harrowing stories. A woman says she’s attended the march to stand in solidarity with all women, especially victims of gender-based violence.
“I’m here today to support women, myself and all victims of sexual assaults by men, they are killing us, it’s too much now.” said UKZN SCR Deputy President, she also shared a horrifying story of the female UKZN student that was raped by a male classmate. The marchers said government needs to take more drastic steps to stop the scourge in the country. “We are here because we are seeing the rate of femicide and gender-based violence keeps on increasing. And all we ever get is ‘we condemn’ and ‘enough is enough”.
Women from all walks of life have taken part in Wednesday’s march, many wearing black and red – saying they want to send a strong message that “no means no”. Gender activists and groups around the world have pledged their support for Wednesday’s #TotalShutDown marches against women abuse.
The march brought the City of Pietermaritzburg to a standstill on Wednesday‚ as hundreds of women gathered to raise their voices against the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.
Among those leading the march was Hon Khoza,,chairperson of Premier and Royal Household Portfolio Committee and the Women’s Caucus, together with other MPLs from different political parties that are represented in the KZN Legislature. Among those in the forefront of the march was Bridget Dlamini a retired Legislature employee and champion of gender issues who is known for fighting against all forms of issues affecting women, children and people with disabilities.
Women marched to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature in song‚ some holding hands as others hoisted placards above their head, chanting songs and painful slogans like ‘my body is not your crime scene’ – ‘I refuse to die with my hands up and my legs open’
One of the marshals, Hon. Khoza‚ said she hoped the government would institute a specialized court that will deal exclusively with issues of gender-based violence.
The memorandum of demands was read and handed over to Hon. Meshack Radebe, Deputy Speaker of KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, who also made an undertaking to look into all grievances , demands and proposals of the memorandum and committed government to not only listen but take concomitant action that will end this malpractice in our society. “I appeal again to all victims of gender-based violence to come up and not to be shy for fear of victimization and stigmatization and to speak out so that all the perpetrators will be brought into book”.
He also requested the marchers to observe a moment of silent to honour the passing of Mr Brian Thusi, the husband of Hon. Weziwe Thusi the MEC for Social Development, who passed on after a short illness.