Focus on gender harm: Emfuleni leads awareness march against scourge of femicide

POPULARLY known as femicide, the killing of women and girl-children continues to make headlines in South Africa.

Sadly, in recent months and years, several women and children have died at the hands of brutal perpetrators in different areas of Emfuleni.

To raise awareness and make their voices heard, women from Emfuleni Local Municipality’s Health and Social Development Department braved cold weather conditions to embark on a march on Thursday 05th July.

They were joined by other concerned men and women from civil society groups and ordinary residents to march on Moshoeshoe Road with posters with messages that raised public awareness about the murders of women and girl-children.

The department organised the demonstration as part of ongoing public efforts to work with all stakeholders to end the scourge of femicide.

The march culminated in a prayer session held at the Saul Tsotetsi Sports Complex in Sebokeng Zone 14 where all stakeholders gathered.

Speaking on behalf of the department, XoliMadiba called for an end to all violence against women and children.

Madiba explained that one of the reasons the prayer was held was to pray for all victims who lost their lives to femicide to rest in peace.

“As women, we are not provoking men, some say we talk too much, but the reality is men just don’t understand us and that’s the reason why women continue to die at the hands of those they love,” she said.

A brass brand from Toughest Young Minds, an organization which deals with drug abuse and addiction amongst young people, provided soothing sounds at the event and its founding leader Mzwakhe Msibi joined speakers in condemning gender harm.

“We offer support for youth affected by drug and substance abuses by offering counselling and medical check-up done by a professional nurse free of charge,” he said.

Stakeholders who joined Emfuleni on the day included SAPS, Vaal Lifeline and other non-government organisations.

Councillor Griffiths Mzizi from Ward 2challenged some of the painful and irresponsible practices done by both young men and women in relationships.

Mzizi attributed the killings to the collapse of African values of ubuntu-botho that are now replaced by love of material things in relationships.

Councillor Mzizi led all men who attended the March and prayer to pledge that they will all protect women and children.

Different sources show that in South Africa, rate of femicide is 5 times more than the global rate.

Every 8 hours a woman is killed and at least half of these women die in hands of their intimate partners.

  • In the most recent case in April, Emfuleniresidents learned with shock about the horrific death of 22-year old JabulileXaba who was shot dead in Vanderbijlpark, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.
  • In the first week of September in 2017, ItumelengRapuleng was stabbed to death by an unknown man who used a butcher’s knife to cut her stomach open. She bled to death and died in the arms of her father, ButanaMakhudu (35) in an ambulance on the way to hospital. She was just six years old.
  • Her death on the 5th of September was preceded by the killing of a 22-year old woman in Kanana in Sebokeng during the early hours of the same day. The victim, a popular fitness fanatic, was stabbed to death whilst on her usual early-morning run
  • There are also unsolved cold cases in the murders of SibongileThobela [March 2012] and BonangSelai [November 2014]
  • SibongileThobela, a resident of Small Farms near Evaton was found murdered in an open field in Beverly Hills in Evaton West. The 8-year old girl had earlier been reported missing and her body was found mutilated with her arms cut off.
  • BonangSelai went missing during one Sunday afternoon and friends and family members launched a frantic search for the 9-year old Grade 3 learner. Bonang’s lifeless body was found at a nearby dumping site with her hands and feet tied, and her head covered with a plastic bag. There was also suspicion that she may have been raped.

By MatshidisoRammone

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