The Students for Law and Social Justice Wits established a space to discuss gender-related issues. The initiative is called Ubulili.
The Students for Law and Social Justice (SJSJ) have begun a gender campaign –
Ubulili is a Zulu word for ‘gender’, the campaign was started by SJSJ member, Cherise Clevely. According to Clevely, the university needed a gender initiative led by students. “I saw a gap in Wits for a forum that would tackle gender related issues,” she said.
Ubulili is a series of six in-depth discussions on gender-related issues, these discussions happen in a relaxed atmosphere where peer-learning is key. The members and the general public are each session. Clevely told Wits Vuvuzela that these discussions aim to “cut across lines that segregate people according to gender.”
The campaign kicked off last year but the first discussion was held this year, “Feminism” being the topic.
Tina Power, a participant told Wits Vuvuzela that the first seminar aimed to “bust the myth that men cannot be feminists.”
Before the seminar, members are sent reading material that forms the bases of the discussion in each seminar. This discussion is usually led by an expert in the Law department.
Professor Elsje Bonthuys from the Law School, told Vuvuzela that she was “thrilled” by the fact that the students took it upon themselves to start these discussions. “It is very interesting to hear what this generation thinks of these issues compared to mine.”
“We should infuse gender into other courses because gender influences our normal daily lives”, she said.
According to Clevely, it is important to raise awareness on campus about gender equality, especially because of the “misogynistic comments made by men’s residences recently”. She highlighted the importance of educating men, which is one of the objectives of Ubulili.
Ubulili also plans to start a sanitary drive where sanitary wear will be donated to students in need. This will be done in August to commemorate women’s month. “It is sad that a lot of girls miss school when they are on their periods because they cannot afford sanitary pads,” stated Clevely; “Periods are what make us women, so it should not be a shame when a woman is on her period.”