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South Africa Holds Five Days Mourning for lives lost from femicide and COVID-19

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Nardus Engelbrecht/Nardus Engelbrecht

South Africa

South Africa on Wednesday began a period of mourning for lives lost from gender-based violence and COVID-19.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, during his address to the nation on November 11, said national flags were to be flown at half mast at various national key sites and government buildings for five days until November 29.

The period of mourning has begun on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which will mean gender-based violence will be high on the agenda in the country until December 10, Human Rights Day.

Gender-based violence is a "big problem in our society" that "needs to be solved", according to student Mmannethe Mokwana.

Mpho Sempe, a resident of Pretoria, said he and a group of men gather to discuss how they can tackle gender-based violence, saying such violence has "been a burden for years".

Shop salesperson Rose Mokeona, however, said people in Pretoria have relaxed on COVID-19 regulations like social distancing and mask wearing, adding "it's sad because people have lost their lives and they are still going to lose their lives."

Since the pandemic began, 21,083 South Africans have died from COVID-19.

Ramaphosa has called on citizens to wear black armbands or other signs of mourning to signify and respect those who have died.