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Male voices must rise against the scourge of femicide in South Africa as we celebrate Women's Day

Today marks an important day in the country's calendar as we celebrate National Women's Day.

This is the time that women across all communities are acknowledged for their role in society and for their continued resilience against societal injustices.

However, this noble act is overshadowed by the rising tide of femicide which continues to rear its ugly head. South Africa remains one of the countries with the highest rate of gender based violence.

The severity of this is demonstrated by the fact that a woman is murdered every four hours in the country.

Half of them die at the hands of their intimate partners. Moreover, a recent health survey carried out by Stats SA reveals that 21% of women over 18 in the country, or one in five women, have experienced violence by their partner.

This is still happening despite the highly publicised campaign of 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children which was started in 1998.

And 17 years down the line, the country is still grappling with shocking cases of gender based violence.

Today offers us, as men, an opportunity to look inwardly and honestly ask ourselves if we are doing enough to address this deeply entrenched patriarchal behaviour.

We need to go beyond celebrating women in South Africa by playing a meaningful role within our immediate families and communities in ridding our society of gender based violence.

Every year, on the 9th of August, women all over South Africa stand together to celebrate 20 000 women who bravely marched to the Union Buildings over 60 years ago against injustices of the past.

On that fateful day, a legion of brave and determined women dared to throw the gauntlet at the seat of apartheid power to ensure that their role in the society at large was recognised. 

But more importantly, for men to have a paradigm shift in terms of how they viewed their counterpart's role in general.

Therefore, we must not miss this opportunity to remember the significance of this holiday and also understand how much wisdom there can be in a crowd motivated to achieve attention to an objection and be part of the solution.

Today we affirm the wisdom, bravery and farsightedness of those who say wathinta abafazi, wathinta imbokodo.

To mark this day, discerning male voices across the country should echo the need for a male-driven concerted effort to fight the scourge of gender based violence.

For queries:
Sibongile Dimbaza
Mayoral Spokesperson

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