GEMSA 16 Days of Activism Newsletter Issue 1

GEMSA 16 Days of Activism Newsletter Issue 1

Date: November 25, 2004
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November 25th, International Day for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Across the region and indeed across the world men and women are mobilising in the fight against gender violence.

E-Newsletter of  the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network

Produced daily during the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, 2004

Issue 1, 25 November 2004


·    Overview

·    Today’s I story

·    Country activities

Contact your Sixteen Day Campaign country representatives:

Botswana: Keaybone Ntsabanye:

Kenya: Rosemary Okello:

Lesotho: Fanyane Mathabang :

Mauritius: Loga Virahsawmy:

Seychelles: Sharon Thelemaque:

South Africa: Mothibi Mohomane:

Swaziland: Ncane Maziya:

Zambia: Chileshe Kalasa:  

Zimbabwe: Loveness Jambaya:

Contact your GEMSA country representatives:

Angola: Anacleta Pereira

Botswana: Pamela Dube

Lesotho: Mathabang Fanyane

Malawi: Stella Mhura

Mauritius: Loga Virahsawmy

Mozambique: Jose Marciano Mubai

Namibia: Sarry Xoagus- Eises

Seychelles: Jean Claude Mantombe

South Africa: Kubi Rama

Swaziland: Phumelele Dlamini

Tanzania: Rose Haji

Zambia: Emmanuel Kasongo

Zimbabwe: Loveness Jambaya

Contact the GEMSA Executive Committee:

Chair: Colleen Lowe Morna (South Africa)

Deputy Chair: Emmanuel Kasongo (Zambia)

Secretary: Tom Mapasela (Lesotho)


November 25th, International Day for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.  Across the region and indeed across the world men and women are mobilising in the fight against gender violence.

In sub-Saharan Africa as various UN reports indicate, violence against women is fuelling the AIDS epidemic. It is therefore imperative that these two epidemics are addressed simultaneously if African women are able to realise their rights. “United against gender violence and HIV/AIDS” is theme under which GEMSA activities in the region are taking place.

Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe joined the rest of the rest of the world in commemorating this day. Read on to find out about the activities which took place within each country.

Check your inbox every day for a summary of the action that has taken place each day for the duration of the Campaign.

Let us all unite against gender violence and HIV/AIDS and work towards changing the 16 days into 365 days free of gender violence!

Poll question November 26th: Should we encourage people to speak out on behalf of others? Participate in the poll by going to and logging in your response.

Meet fellow activists, experts and decision makers in cyber space and participate in a real time, interactive online discussion on gender violence through a cyber dialogue each day. Log on to between 13:0014:00 every day to have your say.

Every day we will post an “I story” – the writing of survivors of violence and reformed perpetrators. Stories which show that change is possible and give us hope.


Today’s I’ story

Don’t make my mistake – get help!

By Anita Ferreira

I still get nightmares when I think about all the things that he did to me. The worst thing he did to me was to tie my hands to the bumper of a car and my feet to a tree, tear my clothes off and pour petrol over me, and tell me: “Nobody will ever miss you. I will dump your body in a bush, or what is left you.”

Read the full story at:


Preparations for the 16 Days of Activism began on 19th November with a press briefing – a collaborative which informed Botswana media about the planned activities for the campaign. The campaign this year is focusing on “Women, girls and HIV/AIDS” – a crucial issue in Southern Africa as has been highlighted in a number of recent UN reports.

Activities for the 16 Days of Activism began today with a speech by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs in which the Women’s Ministry is housed. Minister Major General Moeng Pheto delivered a message of support for the 16 Days of Activism and informed the nation about some of the activities that would take place in Botswana during the campaign.

Campaign activities have begun around the country – including in Gaborone, Francistown and Gintsa, a rural community. A major focus this year is taking the campaign to rural areas. A workshop and a march were held in Gintsa today and activities will continue in this and other rural communities throughout the 16 Days.  Initiatives closer to urban centres include voluntary counselling and testing programmes as well as legal aid programmes.

(By Kaebonye Ntsabane)

In Lesotho  today

As the sun rose and marked November 25 – International Day for the Prevention of Violence Against Women members of Media and Arts Watch Association (MAWA) greeted the day in white t-shirts bearing the messages of the 16 days campaign. MAWA members have all pledged to wear the t-shirts throughout the significant dates of the 16 days campaign.  In Lesotho, the day was not officially launched or commemorated by the Lesotho government today as has been the case in past years. However, MAWA were part of a full hour radio phone-in talk show on Joy fm this morning to introduce and explain the significance of 16 days to the general public. Many people phoned in and we had a heated but eye-opening discussion about the 16 Days Campaign and gender violence.

(By Fanyane Mathabang)

In Mauritius today

The Mauritius Broadcast Corporation aired an hour-long panel discussion on gender violence on November 24th. Guests included a member of the Media Watch Organisation (MWO) in Mauritius; a representative from the Kinoute (“Who are we”) organisation which runs a rehabilitation centre for former women prisoners; the head of the Women’s Unit of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and a Mauritian lawyer.

Today began with the signing of the Protocol Against Family Violence by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Security; the police, the Mauritius Council of Social Services; PILS – an organisation working in the HIV/AIDS sector and MWO.

The women’s section of the Mauritian Nursing Association held a half day workshop on gender violence at work. MWO gave a presentation on gender violence at the workshop.

The red and white ribbon campaign is making its presence felt in Mauritius with people from all walks of life wearing the ribbons.  From today until the end of the 16 Days Campaign the Mauritius Post will be pasting stickers bearing the GEMSA slogan “Peace begins at home” on all documents that come through the Post Office.

Today also marked the beginning of a media campaign through which 16 slogans – for the 16 days – will be aired four times a day on radio stations and twice a day in the country’s two major daily newspapers.

One of the articles generated for the 16 Days Campaign as part of the “I stories” project has received major attention by the Mauritius people. One reader was so moved by the story (of a Mauritius sex worker and survivor of incest)  that she wants to start a support group for survivors of violence … these are the ripple effects that make the 16 Days Campaign an important initiative towards ending violence against women.

(By Loga Virahsawmy)

In Namibia today

International Day Against Violence Against women kicked off in Namibia with various women’s NGOs urging government to strengthen mechanisms to curb violence perpetrated against women and children countrywide.

The NGOs have also hailed Namibia for signing CEDAW after the United Nations officially recognised November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against women.

Vice Chairperson of the National Council Magreth Mensah-Wiliams told GEMSA representative in Windhoek, Sarry Xoagus-Eises, that women should review all Conventions, protocols and Declarations to see whether the country is on track in curbing violence activities against helpless women and children.

Mensah Williams said women should also scrutinise gender bills in the country, such as Married Persons Equality Bill, Rape, Maintenance, and Child Status Bills amongst others.

(By Sarry Xoagus-Eises)

South Africa

Speaking at the launch of the cyber dialogue initiative at the City of
Johannesburg on the eve of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, GL Director Colleen Lowe Morna said the recent acrimony over rape statistics in South Africa mars the much deeper issues at stake. The first cyber dialogue, which took yesterday under the theme “Taking stock” generated a lively debate and discussion – both at the City of Joburg and in cyberspace – as participants deliberated on progress made since 2003.

In an honest appraisal of work in the gender violence sector, there was strong agreement that while some progress has been made, efforts towards ending violence against women need to gain momentum. Participants agreed on the importance of looking at the root causes of violence and involving men in the struggle for a violent-free society.

See what participants had to say by logging on to: and following the link from Taking stock where you can read the summary and action points of days discussions.

Today’s discussion took place under theme “Empowerment of women and children: poverty is violence.”  Strong focus was placed on the importance of women’s economic empowerment as a key strategy to reducing the high levels of violence against women.  The summary of today’s discussion will be available tomorrow at 12:00.


In Swaziland today

Swaziland marked the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign with a march by civil society around the city of Manzini. The march was organised by the Gender Consortium, a group comprising a number of NGOs in Swaziland. The march was followed by the official launch at which Minister Absolom Dlamini from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, standing in for the Prime Minister of Swaziland gave the keynote address. UNICEF resident representative, Allen Brody and a number of representatives from NGOs also gave presentations at the launch. A major focus for the 16 Days Campaign in Swaziland is on women’s health and well being, with emphasis on making sure that women are not blamed for the violence that they experience.

(By Phumelele Dlamini)

In Zambia today

SEVERAL representatives of NGOs and government officials gathered at the Lusaka Main Post office as early as 07.30am to witness the launch of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The march, from the Post Office to Nakatindi hall at the civic centre was flagged off by officials from the government gender machinery, the Gender in Development Division (GIDD).  Participants came from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), the NGO umbrella body Non Governmental Organisation Coordinating Committee (NGOCC), Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), the Zambia Media Watch (ZAMWATCH) and Young Women in Action (YWIA).

Read more at:

(By Brighton Phiri)

In Zimbabwe today

We proud to note that the red and white ribbon is being used widely for the 16 days campaign.  Thanks to UNIFEM who also assisted in publicising the campaign. GEMSA attended the official launch of the 16 Days Campaign organized by the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Employment Creation with the support of UNIFEM. The launch included a number of speakers including:

Other activities that took place today include:
*The Minister of Gender as well as other government officials spoke on the subject: Unite for Peace: Combat Violence against Women, HIV
and AIDS in

*UNIFEM regional director, Nomcebo Manzini, spoke on Gender Based
Violence and HIV/AIDS at the event.
*There was a petition circulated on the Zimbabwe Domestic Violence Bill which is taking forever to be made into law.  The Minister of Gender was the first to sign it at this ceremony and the petition will be handed
to the Ministry of Justice at the end of the 16 Days Campaign on the 10th December.
*There were a number of presentations also made including drama, song and dance

GEMSA in Zimbabwe has also begun the second phase of monitoring the press for coverage of gender violence. In addition, a D-group discussion on gender violence is taking place. To participate go to:
Please note that you can send messages to the list: during the 16 days campaign where different themes will be discussed for each day. For the themes please visit the
website. Messages sent to the above address will be sent out to all participants in the discussion. You can get a password to enter this community, as well as any other D-groups community of which you are a member. This may have been done by you, or by
( administrator of Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) If you encounter any problems, please contact the administrator of this D-group by sending an email to

(By Loveness Jambaya)

Write to us:

Send us information on what activities are taking place in your country.

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