2017 was a year where Gender-based Violence came brazenly out to the public. It reared it's brutal head, claiming one Karabo Mokoena in a way that made it harder for the country to look away, shut up... put up.
After this incident (and many others that also found their way into the spotlight), the streets started to fill with questions like 'Senzeni na?' (what have we done – to deserve this?). They also filled with powerful initiatives like #NotInMyName.
The Not In My Name movement was started by a small group of concerned citizens, that aims to reach out to men to come forward and be the voice of change.
We spoke to some of the organisers of the movement about what prompted it and what has become of their efforts after their monumental march in Pretoria earlier this year. This is what they had to say:
Women should not carry the burden
Said Siyabulela Jentile, founder of the movement: "The Not In My Name Movement was formed after our first march, but after that, we realised that we had to do something that will have an impact. Marches and protests die down, the question was: what is next?
Women do not violate themselves. It is important for men to stand up and speak about Gender-Based Violence because they are the main perpetrators. We look at the root factors, like socio-economic factors that perpetuate GBV. We are creating a space where men can show emotions and find the masculinity that has been misplaced. We are trying to socially reconstruct what it means to be a real man. We've made great progress. It will take time but we will get there."
Alcohol has a role to play in GBV
"We also acknowledge the major role alcohol plays in Gender-Based Violence. The message is out there: don't drink too much, be responsible. If you decide to go out as a man, have someone you trust that will go with you, someone who will be able to stop you should anything happen," said Kholofelo Masha, Creative Director of Not In My Name.
It means a lot to know that some men have our backs
"If the Not In My Name Movement was founded by women, it was not going to have the same effect. Having men on our side makes it easier and means a lot because we know we are not fighting this battle alone. As a woman, I am delighted to be part of this movement that is here to bring about change in our country. The breakthrough of our movement is that people have gained trust in the movement," said Boitumelo Nkosi, Deputy Chairperson of Not In My Name.
Spreading the word
In August, we saw how Not In My Name members came in support of South African singer, Busisiwe Thwala, also known as Cici, following her alleged assault at the hands of her former boyfriend and record label owner, Arthur Mafokate.
In a recent show of support for Mandisa Duma, who was assaulted by former Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana; Not In My Name expressed their disapproval of the minimum sentence given to him.
In a heartfelt letter to women, Jentile laments: "I apologise for allowing my friends to call you names when you walk by, without saying a word. I am certain that I echo out the hearts of many men when I say; from the south deepest point of my heart, I sincerely apologise."
It would seem that even with much effort and heartfelt support from men in society, those in power still need to come to the party to ensure that the law enforces much harsher punishment for perpetrators.
You can be part of the movement for an abuse-free society too. Visit the Stride For Good page and make your pledge.