Gender Justice Barometer Issue 19

Gender Justice Barometer Issue 19

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

Southern Africa
Gender Justice Barometer

Issue 19: December 2007


The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network




> 2007 Sixteen Days campaign
> What happens for the next 349 Days

>Regional: Colloquium on role of local government on ending gender violence held 
> Mauritius: National Action Plan to end gender violence launched
>Swaziland: 365 Day Natinal Action Plan launched
> South Africa launches 16 Days campaign 
> Zambia launches 16 Days campaign

Take Back the Night:
> South Africa
> Mauritius
>Regional: Taking stock and video conference

Cyber Dialogues
> Trafficking
> Role of local government to end gender violence
> Gender violence and disability
> Safety in Schools

South Africa: Visit by Ama Buruxa cultural group 

> Botswana: Domestic V
iolence Bill goes through second reading
> S
outh Africa: Little to be proud about this Sixteen Days 

Botswana: 365 Days National Action 

Putting the teeth back into the SADC Gender Protocol  

First hand accounts: ‘I’ stories
Now I see the light 
Finding myself, with no help from the police 






We encourage your feedback, comments and information you would like us to include. Send an email to Loveness Jambaya-Nyakujarah on









1. 2007 Sixteen Days campaign

16 Days of Activism in the period between 25 November (International Women’s Day of No Violence against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day). Since 1991, the Sixteen Days Campaign has helped to raise awareness about gender violence and has highlighted its effects on women globally.

Thisyear’s just ended campaign theme focussed on ‘Demanding Implementation, Challenging obstacles: End Violence against Women’. The question remains whether pledges made at the beginning of the year and the campaign itself have been met.  Southern African countries such as South Africa and Mauritius among others have created platforms where government officials and civil society representatives engage and take stock of progress made in ending gender violence against commitments made ealier in the year. 

These platforms are the beginning of holding each other to account and demanding action in the coming years. Such platforms need to be strengthened and sustained  and even replicated in other countries to make it an annual event.

Some of the demands this year’s theme sought were made on the state and other institutions including activists’ work to achieve better results included:
> Demanding and securing adequate funding for work against violence against women
> Calling for greater accountability and political commitment from states to prevent and punish all forms of violence against women in practice, not just in words
> Increasing awareness of the impact of violence against women, including engaging in measures to end it by men and boys
> Evaluating the impact and effectiveness of work to prevent violence against women

> Securing the space for advocacy and defending the defenders of women’s human rights in their work to end gender based violence.
View 16 Days fact sheets

Regional: What happens for the next 349 Days?

The 16 Days of Activism is over and awareness on gender violence has been raised through many events and activities that took place in the campaign period.  More promises of action have been made by both state and non state actors, meant to be carried out in the next 349 days until the next 16 Days campaign.

As plans are being concretised for the next year focus needs to shift from placing most resources – human and financial – towards support and response to prevention of gender violence. Greater emphasis on prevention, taking cue from the HIV and AIDS campaign, will be more sustainable in the long run as a way of effectively reducing current high levels of gender violence.

For example in the coming year, UNICEF and the National Prosecuting Authority have commissioned Gender Links (GL) to map promising violence prevention models that can be scaled up which are in existence in South Africa. Building on best practices and lessons learnt from the mapping exercise the next step will be to build a comprehensive model  for preventing gender based violence. If rolled out this will be a step in the right direction for South Africa which is often billed as the  "rape capital of the world".

If the rest of the region does the same exercise in the next 349 Days and implement the findings Southern Africa will eventually become a region free from gender violence.



Regional: Colloquium on role of local government in ending gender violence held

In the run up to the 16 Days campaign gender and local government officials, councillors and civil society activists from 10 Southern African countries gathered on November 8 to discuss the role fo local government in ending gender violence. The event took place on the backdrop of a regional training of trainers workshop for local government which was held from 5 – 7 November to train a cadre of facilitators who will assis councils in formulating gender action plans using locally adapted materials.

During the colloquium hosted by Gender Links at the Willow Park Convention Centre, participants shared best practices on involving local government in ending gender violence as part of ensuring women’s safety and providing holistic service delivery in their communities. The meeting reflected on how Sixteen Days of Activism campaign can be integrated in municipal Integrated Development Plans as a flagship project to raise awareness and enhance community safety.

In working groups the following themes were explored:
> Community mobilisation
> Trafficking
>Involving survibors of gender violence through ‘I’ stories > Reclaiming unsafe spaces through Take Back the Night march
> Link between Gender Based Violence and HIV and AIDS
> Stretching 16 Days campaign to 365 Days Participants planned for the 2007 Sixteen Days.

Participants planned for the 2007 16 Days campaign by identifying campaigns that could be coordinated at regional and community level. It marked the beginning of drawing up a consolidated regional calendar of Sixteen Days activities to ensure coordination at regional, national and local level.
View full report



Mauritius: National Action Plan to end gender violence launched

23 November: The Mauritius government launched the National Action Plan (NAP) to end gender violence on 23 November 2007 as part of celebrating the 16 days campaign.  The NAP has been a joint collaboration of the Women’s Affairs Ministry, UNDP and MWO-GEMSA with assistance from Gender Links.  Consultation were held with civil society organisations and government departments to come up with a final plan. The plan mainly focuses on domestic violence. View the Mauritius Domestic Violence Action Plan.

Swaziland: 365 Day National Action Plan launched
To mark international Day of No Violence against women on 25th November, Swaziland lauched their 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence at an event organised by the Gender Department in the Ministry of Home Affairs and EU Gender Theme Group. Because the date fell on a Sunday it was fitting to hold the event at a location that often serves as a sanctuary for survivors and victims of gender violence, the Divine Healing Auditorium in Manzini.

Two survivors of gender violence shared their experiences and several cultural and gospel groups performed. The Minister of Home Affairs represented by the Minister of Education, Mr Themba Msibi gave the keynote address at the colourful ceremony at which several church groups, pastors, NGOs, members of the public and other key stakeholders attended. The Swaziland 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence is a comprehensive multi sector plan to end gender violence crafted at a workshop held in June this year, by representatives of government and civil society using the SADC Addendum to the Declaration on Gender and Development on the Eradication of Violence Against Women and Children as a framework. It provides specific targets, timeframes, outputs and budget over a three year period and allocates responsibilities for achieving this.

The drafting workshop was convened by Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), Gender and Media Southen Africa Network – Swaziland (GEMSWA) and Gender Links (GL). The Gender Unit in the Ministry of Home Affairs contributed resources in support of the workshop.

Swaziland is one of few SADC countries that have achieved its target of launching and adopting a multi-sector National Action Plan to End Gender Violence.


South Africa launches 16 Days campaign
25 November: The Department of Local Government (DPLG) which convenes the 16 Days national secretariat kick started the campaign by holding a million men’s march. Symbolic marches were held in all nine provinces aimed at getting men to be more involved in the fight against abuse of women and children.

Zambia launches 16 Days campaign
25 November: Over 500 people braved the rain to march along the streets of Lusaka for the launch of hte 16 Days campaign by the Acting Vice President. He reaffirmed government’s commitment to ending gender based violence.

The government has shown commitment through drafting a National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence. The plan which was crafted with inputs from government and civil society is in its final stages and will be adopted soon.


South Africa
24 November: Over 700 women and men from Ekurhuleni and surrounding areas reclaimed the night in Gemiston at a march organised by Ekurhuleni Municipality in collaboration with GL and GEMSA on the eve of International Day of No Violence against women.

The march was led by Minister of Safety and Security Ms Susan Shabangu, the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Duma Nkosi and councillors who reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring safety of women and children in their locality. They also led the candle light ceremony. View slide show


25 November: MWO-GEMSA in collaboration with the District Council of Grand Port, Savanne organised the Take Back the Night march. Women and men including survivors of gender violence and people with disability marched from Mahebourg Police Station to Mahebourg Water Front.

Honourables Dr Vasant Bunwaree, Minister of Labour and Industrial Relations, Indira Seeburn, Minister of Women’s Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare and Dr James Burty David, Minister of Local Government led the march and spoke out against gender violence at the event.  A candle ceremony was held to remember the women who dies as a result of gender violence.
View slide show

Regional: Taking stock and video conference
South Africa
27 November: Gender Links, GEMSA, the World Bank and IFC together with policy makers and activists gathered at the World Bank office to take stock of where South Africa has come since the launch of the 365 Day National Action Plan in March this year. The Deputy Minister of Safety and Security officiated. She used the opportunity to highlight what the South Africa Police Service has been doing to deal with gender violence. She admitted that there was need to do more especially in the areas of gender sensitisation for the police force to change partriachal mindsets and that of collecting gender violence statistics.

Other panellists included senior government officials and civil society representatives who debated issues around implementation of the national plan. The audience comprised government officials, civil society as well as a delegation from Ethiopia who were on a study tour to learn from the South African 365 Day initiative and the Thutuzela Care Centres model.

The meeting agreed that there was need to place emphasis on the need to conitnue nurturing partnerships to ensure effective implementation. The panellists and audience scored South Africa’s progress in addressing gender violence with regard to legal; services; economic, social, political and cultural factors; education and awareness raising; integrated approaches and budgetary allocations for survivors of gender violence. 


28 November: A cyber dialogue was held that raised issues on trafficking and the need for SADC countries to come up with specific legislation to deal with the issue in line with the draft SADC Gender and Development Protocol which has set a target of 2015. A summary of the outcomes will be made available.
Read article on trafficking
Role of local government in ending gender violence
29 November: Local government has been identified as a key player in promoting women’s safety as part of service delivery because it is the sphere of government that is closest to the people. One of the key outcomes of the dialogue was the need to come up wiht gender strategies and build local support groups to encourage women to speak out against gender violence.

Gender violence and disability

03 December: As part commemorating the International Day for the Disabled, a cyber dialogue was held.  About ten women and men who are disabled held a face to face discussion at the Gender Links office before taking part in dialogue. They used the dialogue to articulate issues that affect them including discrimination. Strategies need to be drawn up to ensure that they are also catered for especially in the National Action Plans to End Gender Violence.

Safety in schools

06 December: A group of learners gathered at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to have an online discussion how gender violence affects them when they are in the school environment.  A number of issues came up which need to be followed through in the coming year to make sure that they are addressed.

Media Debate:

The event was a partnership between Oxfam, City Press, GL and GEMSA. It brought together media development NGOs, analysts and media practitioners to debate to what extent the media is part of the problem or of the solution when it comes to ending gender violence. The Press Ombudsman officiated. It was agreed that NGOs and media practitioners need to work together to  ensure that professional and ethical standards of journalism are upheld when reporting issues of gender violence. 

South Africa: Visit by the Ama Buruxa Name culture group from Namibia

Sixteen Days of Activism is often about doom and gloom but it is also about triumph. GL hosted the Ama Buruxa Cultural Group of children from Southern Namibia which visited Johannesburg from 5-12th December as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.

Since the Ama Buruxa (Nama for ‘Simply amazing’) group was established in 2001 they have worked hard to turn the tide and to create a better future for the orphans and vulnerable children in Maltahohe. The group comprises 32 children most of whom have been orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS and or gender violence.  They give theatre performances to raise fees for orphans and vulnerable children in the area. The captivating performances are choreographed by their champion, the soft spoken chair of the village council, Karolina Pieters. They also use the music as a form of therapy. 14 of these children visited Johannesburg.

Key activities included:
> Interactive training and cultural exchange with Themba Interactive Theatre Company which marked one of the highlights of their visit
>Theatre performance at Museum Africa with four other South African theatre groups at an event organised by GL, GEMSA, City of Johannesburg and Museum Africa.
> Arts, Gender violence and HIV and AIDS workshop facilitated by the Constitution Hill Junior Education programme as well as a tour of the Constitution Hill.  They also performed at an HRSC children’s book launch.
> Education tour of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

It was not only work there was also some fun activities such as visiting Lion’s Park whose management granted the group a free tour of the park, a visit to Gold Reef Cityon Tuesday 11th December and Gold Reef City whose Donations Committee granted the children a 50% discount as well as watching the UMOJA Victory Theatre show. Read related article. View slide show.


Botswana: Domestic Violence Bill goes through second reading
The Botswana Domestic Violence Bill introduced in parliament as a Private Member’s Bill is going through its second reading.  It was introduced by the Honourable Gladys Kokorwe who is the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.  

By way of background, in Botswana the Penal Code criminalises acts of violence irrespective of whether such an act of violence has occurred in a domestic setting or outside a domestic setting

It is for the reason the draft Domestic Violence Bill does not create new offences nor seeks to criminalize an act of domestic violence as such an act of violence has already been criminalized under the Penal Code. The introduction of the Bill seeks to compliment the criminal law by providing civil remedies to enable survivors of violence to have greater protection under the law while they await the criminal justice system to take its course.
While the Bill is a welcome development there are many challenges.  For example the issue of definition and inclusion of marital rape remains a contentious issue. Also because it is a private member’s bill, Ms Kokorwe who moved the motion has to foot all the costs related to the Bill.  Another issue that still needs to be resolved is to identify the government ministry which will own the Bill and ensure that resources are available for its implementation.
South Africa: Little to be proud about this Sixteen Days
By Colleen Lowe Morna & Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah
Just in the nick of time for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence that started on 25 November, parliament has passed the Sexual Offences Bill. Thirteen years in the making, the bill now awaits the Presidential signature before it becomes law.
Legislation, while not an end in itself, is a key priority. The Sexual Offences Bill, with progressive, gender-neutral provisions on what constitutes rape, and what kind of evidence is admissible in such cases, is a vast improvement on the antiquated laws that have been used in such cases up to now. It has been pointed out, for example, that had this bill been in place before the Jacob Zuma rape case that relied heavily on the past sexual history of the complainant, the outcome (in which Zuma was acquitted) might have been very different. Read more.

Botswana: 365 Days National Action
Botswana joined the list of SADC countries that have developed year long multi-sector national action plans to end gender violence. A workshop was conducted by Gender Links in partnership with the Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) and in collaboration with the Women’s Affairs department on the eve of the 2007 16 Days of Activism campaign from the 19th – 21st November.
The draft National Action Plan to End Gender Violence is a response to the call by the UN Secretary General, in his 2006 global report on violence against women and children, for all countries to develop comprehensive, multi-sector plans to end this scourge.  
It is structured according to the 1998 Addendum to the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development for the Eradication of Violence Against Women and Children. It mainstreams targets contained in the draft SADC Protocol on Gender and Development that will go before Heads of State in 2008.
The draft plan, developed by stakeholders from government, civil society, the police, and the university, builds on an audit of current laws and practices against the provisions of the Addendum and the draft Protocol. Participants rated Botswana’s current achievements in preventing and responding to gender violence, as well as providing support to survivors, at 41.5%. By whatever measure, there are clearly major challenges to ensuring the eradication of, and appropriate response to, gender violence.  Click here to view the draft plan

Putting the teeth back in the SADC Gender Protocol 
By Pamela Mhlanga

The journey just got tougher for civil society activists who have been spearheading efforts to ensure that Southern African Development Community (SADC) governments are legally bound to achieve gender equality.

The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, due to have been adopted by Heads of State at their meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, in August, has been deferred until the next annual summit to be held in South Africa in mid-2008. The latest draft of the Protocol has had huge chunks removed and concrete commitments softened.

Rising to the challenge, during 16 Days of Activism these activists will be picking up the pace in a campaign to see that a draft Protocol on Gender and Development has the needed commitment and detail necessary to make it a meaningful document in promoting true equality. Read more.

First hand accounts: ‘I’ stories
First hand accounts are one of the most powerful ways to raise awareness on gender violence. Gender Links working with Nisaa and POWA held workshops with survivors of gender violence to tell their stories as part of the 16 Days. Below are highlights of some of the stories told.
Now I see the light
By *Lindiwe Ngoya
For thirty-seven years, I chose to be a victim of abuse not because I wanted to, but because in my mind I felt I needed to protect my children from being deprived of growing up without their father. I had grown up without my father, and did not want the same for my children
I got married on the 26th of March 1973, after three years of living together with my boyfriend. In the beginning, we had more happy times than sad times. One day the relationship took a wrong turn. I spent many years trying so hard to please the man in my life at the expense of my own happiness. On the contrary, my husband did not go out of his way to understand me. Read full article
*Not her real name.
Finding myself, with no help from the police 
I was born in a rural village called Ganyesa in South Africa’s North West province 37 years ago. My family did not have much money when we were growing up. When I was about 20 years old, I set out to get a job and found myself in Lenasia. I had one child by then who was one year old. I needed money to raise her since I did not live with the father. Because I had not completed my studies, it was difficult to get an office job so I began working as a domestic worker. Read full article



Comment on Gender Justice Barometer Issue 19

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *