Close to 100 women dressed in black gathered in Gugulethu over the weekend to voice their anger at the levels of gender-based violence and to launch an NGO focused on advocating against woman abuse.
The launch of Baphi Abafazi Imbizo (Where are the women) was held at the JL Zwane hall.
One of the founders, Nandipha Madolo, said she had been deeply affected by recent incidents of violence against women, in particular the killing of Umtata woman Namhla Mtwa in April.
A wave of outrage that swept through social media united like-minded women and they decided to start the NGO.
“It cannot be business as usual when women are dying like this and the government victimises the victims,” said Ms Madolo.
“Victims are ill-treated because the perpetrators are released from jail (and then) threaten the victim. But all you get from the police (is that) there is no proper evidence. Today we say kwanele (it is enough). Women need to stand up,” she said.
Ms Madolo added that the violence perpetrated by men against women was unacceptable. “We know this is not going to be a walk in the park but we are prepared to make it work. We need to act.
“We also want to follow the GBV cases and know the process. We need to know what causes the delays in these cases. But we felt the government was failing us. Women are wounded.”
She said communities and community organisations such as churches, NGOs, Human rights groups must work together to raise men with empathy, tolerance and respect for women.
Another member, Ncumisa Mahangu, said the main objective is to turn the page in the fight against violence on women. She said ending gender-based violence cannot be women’s responsibility alone.
“We have marched but nothing has really been of any good. Now we are here to listen to women and take their word forward. But we are calling not only on women but also men who have been and are supporting us and against GBV. We are here to say sidiniwe, sidikiwe. This is just a start. We are going to do whatever we need to do,” she said.
Calling on men to suppor their cause, she added: “We are not saying tell us what you are doing in the initiation schools, but we are saying please teach the young men good lessons of manhood. They seem to be the ones committing these crimes. We also urge the churches to stop preaching scripts that perpetuate violence,” she said.
She said for the organisation to work, everyone needs to understand what constitutes GBV.