South Africans take to the streets to protest gender-based violence as the rapes and murders of women increase under lockdown regulations.
By Emma Sacco
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 8 of VARSITY News.
While South Africa has been focused on battling the coronavirus this year, another pandemic has
continued to grow: that of gender-based violence. With many citizens feeling unsatisfied with the
governments’ actions to prevent the scourge of rape and murder against women, the people of
South Africa have once again taken to the streets in protest, demanding that the government take
action against this femicide.
On June 30th, protesters gathered outside Parliament in Cape Town to protest gender-based
violence within South Africa. This protest was prompted by the increase in murders of numerous women under lockdown regulations. On the 8th of June, Tshegofatso Pule, a 28-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant, was found stabbed and hanging from a tree in Roodepoort. This
particularly horrific murder sparked outrage among the citizens of Cape Town and further incited
this protest to take place.
Protesters dressed in black and lay on the ground outside of Parliament for five minutes to show solidarity with those who have died due to gender-based violence. Many held signs expressing anger and the need for change, with one placard stating: “WE ARE BEING RAPED & KILLED, DO BETTER”.
Survivors then shared their individual experiences of rape and sexual assault, opening a safe
space for others to speak out and be heard.
The demands of the group included the prevention of bail for sexual abusers, the list of sexual
offenders in South Africa to be made public, and for frequent meetings to be held with the government to discuss gender-based violence within our society.
On the 8th of August, P.E took their stand against gender-based violence in a similarly peaceful
protest, with people dressing in black and displaying signs against the femicide. Protesters were
spread out across P.E, with over 200 people participating in a peaceful sit-down at Nelson Mandela Bay’s City Hall and others walking the busy streets to raise awareness on gender-based violence.
With over 30 women having been murdered in July alone under lockdown regulations, the people
of P.E expressed their anger at the lack of action taken by the government against gender-based
violence in our country. Event organiser Tayla Hynch expressed, “We have taken matters into our
own hands as we are tired of government not doing anything about it.”
These peaceful protesters also called for the list of sexual offenders to be made public, as well as
for police stations to be revamped and for an increase in education on gender-based violence to be introduced to the general public.