UKZN Forum on Gender-Based Violence
UKZN’s Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit (CHASU) organised a forum to discuss issues of gender-based violence (GBV).
Supported by the HIV and AIDS programme, CHASU has a presence on each campus and helps to implement interventions and campaign awareness.
UKZN’s Health Promoter and Acting Co-ordinator of the HIV and AIDS Programme Ms Eleanor Langley, welcomed guests and observed a moment’s silence for a student who died on campus, Mr Simukelo Zondi.
Langley said the HIV and AIDS programme focused on prevention and urged students not to be afraid to report any form of abuse to someone, whether a friend or a roommate. ‘We need to have a call to action because GBV is hitting us like a tsunami and we need to do something about it.’
Ms Silungile Mavundla, author of Owesifazane Onamandla: Killing Half a Women – the Woman of Resilience - a book based on her experience as a survivor of rape - encouraged rape victims to talk about their experiences, educating others and helping them to deal with issues. ‘To get through pain you need to talk about it and forgive whoever hurt you, because things that are hidden have power over you but once you bring them out into the open, they lose that power,’ said Mavundla.
Director of TB and HIV Investigative Network (THINK), Pastor Siya Nzimande, urged all South Africans to stand up against GBV “because the government can’t do it alone”. Nzimande challenged every man in the country to provide safe places for women in South Africa, and as a father pleaded with men not to violate or abuse the children of others.
Manager of the Gender Office under the eThekwini Municipality, Ms Funeka Thabethe spoke on various initiatives the municipality was working on to help prevent GBV, including a seminar next month looking at South Africa’s justice system and why it seems to favour perpetrators. ‘We want to be accessible to the public forming partnerships and fighting the scourge of GBV,’ said Thabethe.
UKZN student and member of the African Emancipation Student Movement (AFRI-ESM), Mr Siphele Ngidi, spoke on how the oppressed were more prone to GBV exposure, linking that to class, race and gender. ‘Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie once said: “It is the culture of Africans to oppress women” - and it is in our culture to change that,’ said Ngidi.
UKZN’s HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Counsellor, Ms Pinky Mnyaka, and Student Governance and Leadership Development Officer, Mr Mandla Ndaba, addressed the audience on issues of raising young women and men.
Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela
Photographs: Andile Ndlovu