United by rage over the rise in violence against women and children in South Africa, hundreds of protesters, mostly men, have marched in the South African capital Pretoria to denounce the phenomenon.
The march, in response to a group calling itself #NotInMyName, follows the recent murder of a 22-year-old lady by her boyfriend as well the murder of a 3-year-old girl who was raped.
One of the organizers of the protest march Kholofelo Masha said: “The time to take collective responsibility for our shameful action is now.”
“You know the number of deaths that have been going on in our country lately, I mean, one cannot silence himself and say that he didn’t see what is happening in our country,” said Nicholas Mashidi, one of the protesters about the violence against women adding that “we have to stand up as a man and say no to this killing and abuse of women and children.”
According to official figures, a woman is killed by someone she knows every eight hours somewhere in South Africa.
Bukelwa Moerane shared her story with marchers about how she survived an abduction earlier this year.
“I am a lucky survivor,” she said. “I was abducted on 12th February this year. To save my life, I jumped out of a moving car and I ran.
“Why did I speak out? I spoke out because I really wanted this to stop. I really wanted women to stand up for themselves and for the killings to stop,” she said.
Reports of rape and murder have dominated the headlines and front pages recently in South Africa, a country where one in five women is said to have been subjected to at least one act of violent aggression in her life.
“The issue of violence against women and children and girls in South Africa cannot continue,” said Themba Kalua, a representative of UN Women South Africa.
“For it to stop, it requires all of us to come together. We can no longer keep quiet. This is a call to all of us here. There is something we can do without our sphere of influence, within our homes, within our communities,” he charged the crowd.
President Jacob Zuma who visited the parents of Courtney Pieters, the 3-year-old girls who was raped and killed, said:”We, as citizens of this country, must say enough is enough.”
He also said Courtney’s murder was “one of the saddest incidents I’ve come across”.