Boys and girls sang from the same hymn sheet about the scourge of gender violence, during a choir competition, in Philippi, on Saturday.
The competition, held in the Browns Farm hall was organised by the Cesvi Foundation, which is addressing gender-based violence (GBV) in the programmes it runs for the youth.
“With one voice we say no to gender-based violence,” was the competition’s theme, and programme manager Luvuyo Zahela, said the aim was to promote equality between girls and boys.
“Gender-based violence starts at school. It comes as if it is right for a boy to assault a girl, but it is not like that. We need to abnormalise that. We need to strongly condemn that. GBV has also become the second pandemic and we all need to strongly fight it,” he said.
The organisation was concerned about rising gender violence and everyone needed to stand up to fight it, he said.
Participants in the competition included the Adolescent and Youth Friendly Service (AYFS), Philippi and Samora Youth, iGugulethu AYFS, Laguna Music Family from Nyanga, Makhulu Young Angels from Lower Crossroads and Chosen Organisation from Lower Crossroads, Imbilini Yosiba from Vlei, Kuyakhaynya from Gugulethu and Lucky Stars from Philippi.
Imbilini Yosiba Ensemble founders, Vusikhaya Lumkwana and Alungile Jevu, said they were thrilled to be part of the event as it was encouraging for young people, especially those from crime-plagued communities like Vlei.
“We are from an area that when people describe it you would not like it. They will never say Vlei but ’that crime-riddled area’. So when we got an invitation, we saw the theme and had to think deeper. We are part of this because we, as young people, want to change the image of our areas for good,” Mr Lumkwana said.
Ms Jevu added: “The theme was effective and very relevant to us. We feel that young people will learn after this that girls and boys are all equal and no one has a right over another.”
Nyanga police, the Reverend Lugongolo Foundation, the Provincial Men for Change Programme, Amadumisa Traditional Leaders and ward councillor Fikiswa Nkunzana were also at the competition.