A series of grisly murders of women and children has hit the headlines this year.
It is for this reason that men, young and old, from D section and Tsepe-Tsepe informal settlement in Khayelitsha marched to Lingelethu police station on Monday August 10 to urge other men to take collective responsibility to protect women and children.
Armed with placards denouncing the abuse of women and children, the men marched all the way from
D section to A section, calling for men to stop their shameful behaviour of abusing their partners.
The protesters said the voices of men in the fight against gender-based violence and crime in general in their communities have been quiet for too long.
Community leader Siphiwo Petersen, said the march was aimed at restoring the dented image of men while encouraging their peers to be positive role models in their communities.
He said the manner in which women and children are killed and raped is senseless and they needed to add their voices to stop other men from committing these crimes.
Mr Petersen said as men in the
D section and Tsepe-Tsepe area they realised that in order to make their community a better place to raise their children they needed to step up and set an example for young men and boys.
He said real men provide for and protect their families.
He believes that if every man in every corner of the country can take responsibility there would be no cases of women and child abuse.
Mr Petersen said part of the aim of their march was to create awareness about the high crime rate in their community.
He said they have discovered that very few men take part in programmes which seek to better their community and wanted to appeal to them to join such initiatives.
“Men are meant to be providers not abusers. Men, stand up and protect your dignity. We need to teach the young boys how they should conduct themselves. We should never associate ourselves with men who are abusers. The true reflection of a man is demonstrated in how he treats women and children in the community. We should also play a vital role in assisting law enforcement agencies in executing their policing duties,” he said.
Mr Petersen said one of their goals was to establish neighbourhood watches in their respective communities.
He said it was worrying and sad that delivery trucks were continuously attacked and robbed when they drive through their area.
It was extremely sad that ambulances needed to be escorted when responding in their communities.
They were also planning to host an imbizo for men to discuss pertinent issues.
Lingelethu acting station commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Juant Alcock, said there is no customary law or culture that encourages men to practise violence on women and children.
He said it was encouraging to see men taking a stand against the abuse of women and children.
But he said they should not only do this during Women’s Month; it should be a daily practice where they teach young men and boys to respect women and senior citizens.
He said they (SAPS) should build a strong relationship with residents and promised that the station would join forces with the community in all their activities to ensure that they create a better living environment.
He said whatever standard they were setting today should grow from strength to strength.
Community leader, Mahlubandinile Sigabi said as men they were making a pledge that they would protect their children, wives and mothers. He said this is not the first time that they have marched to denounce gender-based violence.