Wits adds its voice to #BringBackOurGirls campaign

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SOLIDARITY: Students at Wits University show their support for the missing Nigerian schoolgirls. Photo: Anazi Zote

It has been just over a month since more than 200 girls were abducted from a school in Nigeria and today Wits University added its voice to the international show of support.

About 50 Wits students gathered on the library lawns as part of an art-based solidarity campaign.

Today’s gathering was part of the broader initiative known as #BringBackOurGirls, which advocates for the release of the girls from Boko Haram, a terrorist group which has claimed responsibility for the abductions. The event made use of various art forms such as hand painting and the spoken word to communicate messages of protest.

Wits Amnesty International president at Bambi Stewart said: “The campaign started just under a month ago in Nigeria and we as collective university students, decided to come and show support for the girls.”

[pullquote] “We as Africans in the continent are saying lets come together lets help countries like Nigeria put a stop to such inhumanity”[/pullquote]

Stewart said that Wits University has an important role to play in raising awareness: “More girls have become weaponized (sic) and tools of war, we think that its time as a university we raise our voice as a collective, irrespective of political affiliations or religion”.

The campaign was convened by Dluwadamiloa Apotieri Abdielai, a masters student, who says that the said there is a culture of silence in Nigeria and it is problematic because, “Whatever is happening in Nigeria is happening in several other countries, but people are not talking about it.”

Nigerian community speaks out

The Nigerian diasporic community was also present at the campaign to show their support and disdain for the lack of action towards the Nigerian government towards finding the girls.

Gloria Ernest Samuel who is a PhD fellow from Imo State in Nigeria said, “If the government had done enough, we wouldn’t be here and that is part of why we are supporting the campaign”.