Community groups held a soccer tournament in Nyanga on Saturday to red card violence against women and children.
The Cesvi Foundation, religious leaders, the Lugongolo Foundation, Answered Prayers Foundation, Nyanga Community Police Forum, Nyanga South African Police Services, Lovelife and Gwenzido were all part of the event.
The day started with the planting of trees at the homes of Nomvuzo Atoli, 22, and Amahle Quku, 17. Ms Atoli’s body was found at a rubbish dump in Siyanyanzela informal settlement in August, and Amahle’s body was found in Albert Luthuli Street, in Browns Farm in June.
At the Browns Farm sports field, speakers from organisations spoke out against gender-based violence, saying real men did not harm women and children.
Luvuyo Zahela, from the Cesvi Foundation, said boys needed to learn about gender-based violence from a young age so that they did not become offenders.
Referring to the trees planted at the homes of the two young women slain earlier this year, he said: “We challenged men to look after those trees like they look after their children.
“It was symbolic to plant those trees.”
Mr Zahela said the two-hour soccer tournament wasn’t just about kicking a ball around.
“It was meant to show boys and men that sport can play a positive role in their lives.
“They should know that sport could mould them to love, care, and protect women, mothers and their grannies.
We want the young boys growing up loving women.
“This was part of our programme called What makes a Man…
“We want them to champion the fight against gender based violence.The main purpose was to kick out GBV.”
Reverend Anita Pamla, founder of the Answered Prayers Foundation, said much of the focus around gender-based violence in the past had rested on girls.
“There has never been a proper focus directed to boys. We have always been telling boys to be strong, don’t cry.
“There is a gap between the genders. It is now about time that we tell our young boys that it is okay to cry, to love and to protect their women.
“We have seen women, young and old being raped and maimed. It is now time to educate these up and coming men to be responsible and loving.”
She said her foundation had dealt with cases involving children and she had seen how they were being raped and killed.
“I have seen their distraught families.
“I think being part of this campaign plays a huge role for my foundation and all the communities,” she said.
Nyanga Police station spokesperson Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi thanked the organisations for their efforts.
“We appreciate what they do to fight crime with us.
“This is what we have been preaching that communities must work with police.
“We had more events with them and we will still have more productive ones,” she said.