More than 100 Gugulethu men joined a march in solidarity with the victims of sexual violence on Saturday November 24.
The all-men march was held to launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, which started on Sunday November 25 and will run until Monday December 10.
The march aimed to engage men and to highlight the escalating incidents of domestic violence, rape and abuse cases in the township.
The march was spearheaded by Sonke Gender Justice and supported by organisations including the Gugulethu Development Forum and other advocacy groups.
Residents were urged to speak out against women and child abuse.
The men walked through the streets of Gugulethu singing freedom songs and calling on other men to join them in the fight against the abuse of women and children.
Sonke Gender Justice wellness centre co-ordinator, Sikhangele Mabhulu, said they were focusing specifically on the behaviour of men.
“We engaged them on many issues including supporting their families.
“The day was a success even though the numbers were not
as we expected but we are hoping that those who joined us will help pass the message to others.”
He said it was important to have the march in Gugulethu because of the high rate of abuse fo women and children.
“Men also got tested outside Ikhaya Loxolo, a home for seniors, for different diseases.
“Another highlight of the march was an engagement of seniors at Ikhaya Loxolo where we engaged them on many issues.
“The march was the start of good things to come but what makes us happy is the fact that men heeded the call to go out there and denounce violence against women and children,” Mr Mabhulu told Vukani.
Secretary Vincent Domingo said more activities like this should be encouraged.
“Those who attended know the ugly face of abuse and need to be commended.”
He said the number of men at the march did not count because all those who attended would pass the message to others.
“We need to commend those who see the light and are against these abuses,” said Mr Domingo.
He appealed to men to be part of advocacy against abuse.
“Let us go back to the years when men were men and were leaders and heads of their homes. As men we need to provide love, care and protection to women and children.”
The march ended at Ikhaya Loxolo where speeches were made.