Gender violence awareness march not silenced by a tiny turnout

Silent Protest: The Girls Only South Point Residence spread gender violence awareness in Braamfontein.

SILENT PROTEST: The Girls Only Club at South Point Residence spread gender violence awareness in the streets of Braamfontein. Photo by: Lutho Mtongana

You could count the number of protestors on both hands but nothing would stop the small turnout from spreading their message about gender-based violence in Braamfontein yesterday.

The Girls Only Club, based at Southpoint residence, arranged a protest but only 10 people, including some men, participated by carrying bright pink posters and walking in silence.

The group marched from their residence in Melle Street along the streets of Braamies where women have been targeted many times by criminals.

The aim of the march was to send out the message that “women are not vulnerable, women are not weak”, as written on one of the posters carried by the marchers.

Yet another one of the posters read, “I am nobody’s punching bag”. On the street the group was stopped at various times by curious onlookers who asked for more information or posters.

Victor Karamba, a male gender activist who participated in the event said, “This is a good initiative because we still have a lot to do in terms of awareness and the issue of gender because we know that violence is a big issue among our society and I think this is something we have to do every day”.

Natasha Manyuku, one of the participants, believed that the, “purpose of the event was to get the message out” and she thinks they did, even though they expected a bigger turnout.

Selebano said, “Numbers don’t always mean success but the message that we send out and people stopping to ask questions, people getting the pamphlets, I think it was successful and I am very happy with the responses”.

“I think we achieved what we wanted to achieve, maybe not in a big scale but part of what we wanted to do was done”, Selebano added.

Apart from holding a silent march, The Girls Only Club provides a space for young girls to talk about their issues in all spheres of life throughout the year.

Initially, when the club started in 2011, the aim was to only focus on gender violence and since then, it has grown and changed with the need of females needing a safe space to talk about their problems.