It started with a Name and Shame campaign online. And now, the ANC women’s league subcommittee called the Young women’s desk will march against gender based violence.
This nationwide march on Wednesday coincides with the #TotalShutdown transnational march. Both marches will aim demonstrate against gender-based violence, even though the two groups will not be joining forces.
Precious Banda, a convener of the Young Women’s desk, says there is no animosity between the groups but this decision was reached because of fundamental differences in the execution of the marches.
The #TotalShutdown march has opted for no men to be allowed to physically participate in the march. The organisers have also chosen the symbolic colours black and red to be worn.
“For us gender-based violence and women abuse is not a responsibility of women to fight alone. We want men who are progressive to support our cause, to stand up and say they agree with us as women who feel violated everyday, who live in fear and who feel our bodies have become a battle ground by these abuses,” said Banda.
“For us, unity in diversity is everyone coming [as] they are ... we are living our lives, we are going to live and express our daily experiences. So if I’m an ANC woman who has been brought up and groomed in the movement on the day of the march want to come and convey the message as that a woman, not some apolitical woman,” she said.
Because of these differences, Banda said the #TotalShutdown organisers decided to march on their own – just women.
“We still send our solidarity to those who have decided to march under the theme of #TotalShutdown because for us it’s not about who is marching where, it’s about a day declared to send a very strong message against gender-based violence,” said Banda.
The march will be led by the subcommittee and includes faith-based organisations, civil society and other members of society.
The aim of the Name and Shame campaign, which started about three weeks ago, was to function as a build up to the march, and to shift the focus from survivors of gender-based violence to the perpetrators.
As part of this campaign the subcommittee published a series of posters of men who had been found guilty of abuse.
“We wanted to shift that narrative by making it more about those who cause the pain and the abuse on women rather than making it an issue of women,” said Banda.
Banda said those marching in Johannesburg will gather at Constitution Hill and march to Luthuli House to hand over a memorandum of demands.
In response to why they didn’t send their grievances within the ANC, Bands said this march was collaboration with many other groups who “have confidence that the ANC must do more in confronting and approaching issues of gender-based violence”.