Gender Justice Barometer Issue 9

Gender Justice Barometer Issue 9

Date: January 1, 1970
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Southern Africa
Gender Justice Barometer

Issue 9: 7 December 2006

Special edition: 16 Days Special Series 

The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network
Focus is on forthcoming events earmarked for the 2006 16 days of Activism campaign
1. 16 YEARS OF 16 DAYS 




















16 days of Activism against gender violence campaign
The 16 days campaign is the period between 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) and 10 December (World Aids Day).
1. 16 years of 16 days:
Advance Human Rights: End Violence Against Women
2006 marks the 16th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism on Gender Violence. Since 1991, the 16 Days campaign has worked to enhance the visibility of violence against women as a human rights violation hence this year’s theme: Advance Human Rights: End Violence Against Women.
Gender activists all over the world have used the campaign as a time to reflect and profile their demands to regional and international bodies and national governments in particular, to commit to ending gender based violence. Read more
Take back the night (also known as Reclaim the Night) is an international march and rally started in the USA, intended as a protest and direct action against rape and other forms of violence against women. Read more.
To read about marches that took place in the different cities in South Africa, Mauritius, Swaziland and Zambia and to view slide shows
You can post messages and slogans on the bulletin board. To post a message click post reply.
The Roman Catholic church launched an association for women who have suffered from domestic violence under the theme; “Love stop making me suffer’. Survivors of gender violence spoke at the event in the hope that it would encourage others who have experienced abuse to speak out.  Songs were sung and advice was given by the Catholic priest who conducted a service.
Findings of a regional study by Dr Michel Roalie, on violence against children conducted in five countries of the Indian Ocean Commission were officially launched. The Minister of Health Mrs. MacSuzy Mondon, several principal secretaries and other stakeholders attended the event.

A workshop was conducted by GEMPLUS in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs and several NGOs on the prevention of abuse against women and girls. The aim was to sensitise young people on behaviour change as well as educate men and boys on their role in ending gender violence.

Over 300 representatives from 14 municipalities in Gauteng, women’s organisations, NGOs, youth organisations and community members converged at Gallagher Estate for a one day conference that was hosted by Gauteng chapter of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). The meeting which was convened in partnership with the Department of Water Affairs (DWAF, Gender Links and GEMSA, is the first initiative by local government since the “365 days of action to end gender violence” conference in May to examine how the draft national action plan can be adapted to local level.
Gender Links Executive Director Colleen Lowe Morna and a City Of Johannesburg Councillor, Ms Van Der Merwe made presentations which illustrated how the City of Johannesburg integrated strategies to end gender violence into their Women’s Development Strategy by incorporating a Women’s Safety plan. Van Der Merwe concluded by saying “There is need for elected representatives to interrogate the safety of women” in their respective regions. This involves basic issues such as ensuring that there is good service delivery like: street lighting, safe parks, safety of the elderly, support for safe houses and so on.
The Districts and Metros that constitute Gauteng each came up with specific draft action plans that will be followed up in 2007 and beyond through a project to be coordinated by SALGA-Gauteng. The Deputy Minister of the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) Ms Nomatyala Hangana threw her weight behind the initiative by being the first to sign a statement of intent that is to be signed by all Mayors of Gauteng, at the event.
Survivors of gender violence spoke at the event.
For more information contact: Loveness Jambaya on or SALGA on
Media houses in Southern Africa have stepped up the momentum in being responsive to issues of gender and HIV and AIDS as witnessed by the launch of Gender and HIV and AIDS policies in a number of media houses during this year’s sixteen days campaign. The policies were developed as part of the Media Action Plan (MAP). MAP is a partnership between Southern African Editors Forum, and Media NGOs. Read more…
Dispatch, Courier, Chronicle, Capitol Radio and FM 101 all launched their policies during a meeting organised by NAMISA in Blantyre. The meeting brought together media owners, editors and managers to discuss the Access to Information Act.
As part of the programme participants were briefed on the development of HIV and AIDS and Gender policies by some media houses as part of the MAP process. This process paid dividends as it resulted in many houses making enquiries on the possibility of them being assisted in developing their own policies. Media houses present covered the launch of the policies on their evening bulletins.
The two largest media houses launched policies.
The Le Defi Media Group with eight media outlets, launched its  Gender and HIV and AIDS policy at Radio Plus Ltd office in Port Louis. The event was attended by the Executive Chairman of the organisation, all members of Staff of Radio Plus and Le Defi Media Group, Dr Ng Man Sung from the Aids secretariat, member of Media Watch Organisation, the Sex Discrimination Division and PILS. Each member of staff and guests got copies of the policies.
The Mauritius Broadcasting Cooperation nine media outlets launched two policies: A Gender policy as well as an HIV and AIDS policy at their offices on the 1st of December.
Three media houses were expected to launch their policies but only one, Radio Terra Verde was able to launch.
The station organised two hour live broadcasting in which representatives of organisations working on AIDS issues, students and politicians were invited. There was a call-in show.  The programme included the presentation of the policy to employees, guests and the general public through the live broadcast.  A question and answer session to gauge the knowledge of the audience on HIV and AIDS issues ended the programme.
For more information about MAP contact Agnes Odhiambo:
Theme: HIV and AIDS and Gender in the media
A regional cyber dialogue was held. The theme of the cyber dialogues was HIV/AIDS, Gender and the Media. The discussion centered on media accountability in relation to coverage of HIV and AIDS as well as employment policies. This was in line with this year’s World AIDS Day theme: “Stop AIDS keep the promise”.
Some of the key issues that were raised include:
  • Media houses, like all other employers should develop policies on HIV/AIDS to guide their response to the epidemic. These should cover both workplace and editorial issues. The policies are important because they not only are they a first step in developing a supportive environment for people living with HIV/AIDS but because they also show that media is willing to be held accountable by audiences;
  • Journalists from media houses that have developed policies on HIV/AIDS emphasized the fact that they are gaining a better understanding of the epidemic and its related issues of gender, politics, economics, culture, etc, as they are required to cover HIV/AIDS story regularly;
  • Journalists and reporters need to report on HIV/AIDS and the underlying gender issues with as much vigor, if not more, as they report on issues on politics and economics. They need to be more vigilant in writing new and innovative stories on these topics;
  • The media can sensibly and critically cover stories (HIV/AIDS) that deal with such an important development issue while being a viable business;
  • The media needs to highlight the links between gender violence and HIV/AIDS as it is strongly linked to the rise in HIV infection of among women in many sub-Saharan countries.
Zambia: Take Back the Night
As the Barometer was being compiled the Zambian chapter of GEMSA in partnership with WILSA held a Take Back the Night March at Zesco Great East Road at 17.30hrs. Please look out for information on what transpired in the next issue. 
Regional Cyber dialogue: Role of Men
The regional dialogue was held which focused on the role of men in ending gender violence. Pertinent issues came out of the dialogue which will be featured in our next issue.
Click here for information on how to log on to cyber dialogues. To find about how you can participate please contact Kubi Rama:  
Working with the Department of Education (DoE) which is hosting a Girls Education Movement (GEM) camp running from the 3rd – 8th of December in Worcester, Cape Town, Gender Links (GL) will partner Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA),) and Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to run a cyber dialogue between school children and officials and experts in Education on violence in schools.
The dialogue will link officials and experts with boys and girls in different locations in South Africa and Mauritius:
  • Girls and boys from all provinces attending the GEM camp in Worcester, Cape Town
  • Girls and boys from different schools, including from the townships, will gather at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) offices in Johannesburg
  • Boys and girls from Alexander township
  • Girls and boys from Mauritius
  • Several individuals will also join the dialogue
The aim of the dialogue is to extend use of IT skills to schools.  Children will discuss the kind of violence they experience in schools and will be prompted to suggest solutions to the problem.
In South Africa these dialogues follow hearings by the Human Rights Commission on gender violence in schools and the release of preliminary findings of a violence in schools research by the Medical Research Council, which point to a bleak future unless action is taken urgently. This is also on the backdrop of the United Nations Secretary General’s report on violence against children in which schools emerge as places where violence in many instances has become institutionalised.
For more information about the events contact: Loveness Jambaya on
Click here for information on how to log on to cyber dialogues. To find about how you can participate please contact Kubi Rama:  
For more information of these and other regional events please visit or
Sub-Saharan Africa has 65 percent of new HIV Infections
WHO, 30 November 2006
The latest UNAIDS/WHO AIDS Epidemic Update shows that out of the 4.3 million new infections in 2006, 2.8 million or 65 percent occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. 39.5 Million people are living with the virus. Dramatic increases can be seen in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where “there are some indications that infection rates have risen by more than 50% since 2004.” 2.9 Million people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2006. For more information, click here.
South Africa: Gauteng Housing renovates shelters during 16 Days
By Bongani Mlangeni
The Gauteng Department of Housing is to renovate at least 16 shelters for abused women and children in the province, as part of its contribution to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign.
The department has identified shelters throughout the province that need urgent attention and says it will continue to engage stakeholders in ensuring that this is not a once off project.
Under the theme “Homes of Hope“, it will renovate five shelters while continuing to look for other partners to renovate the remaining 11.
“This initiative illustrates that while the department’s core business is to build houses, it cares about the plight of the abused as we cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of our women and children who often suffer abuse,” said Gauteng housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane Wednesday, during a visit to one of the shelters.
“They need to be housed in an environment where they are safe. I hope this gesture will go a long a way in restoring the dignity of the victims and heal their pain.”
The campaign aims to create awareness about abuse and raise money for Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that take care of abused women and children.
About 150 houses are being built nationally as part of the Department of Housing’s contribution to the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
In Mpumalanga, almost 50 houses are being built. These are expected to be handed over on 10 December, on Human Right Day, which is also the conclusion of the 16 Days campaign.
Spokesman for the national Housing Department, Monwabisi Maclean, said building the houses was not only to highlight abuse against women and children, but also to provide the victims of abuse with adequate shelter.
“By building houses as part of our contribution to the campaign, we want to bring communities together as we believe that it is only when we have a united community that we can fight women and child abuse,” he said.
( Excerpt from Bua News)
South Africa: An activist at 13
Kgomotso Thamae
My name is Kgomotso Thamae. I am 13 years old and I live with my grandmother in Orange Farm. After I discovered my grandmother’s HIV positive status I felt very sorry for her. I kept asking myself, “Why is this happening to my grandmother?” I am very close to her; I always watch her; trying to pretend that everything is fine. Sometimes I find it hard to go to school and leave her alone at home. Sometimes I wish I could stay with her to protect her from this world of sorrow. In my mind I keep asking myself how many people are suffering. How many children are suffering? Who takes good care of them, are they having enough support from their friends, families and neighbours or are they all alone?
I asked my friends about us starting a support group to help children who are in need. They agreed with me. Our first trip was to Nkosi’s Haven to visit children who are HIV positive to show them that there are children outside who love them; who care for them; who pray for them. When we came back people joined us because they were touched by what we had done. There are ten people in our group. We have activities like dancing, singing, drama and much more. Read full article.
South Africa: A teenager’s advice – do not suffer in silence…
Christelle*, with Pouba Essoo
I am Christelle and I am 17 years old. My sister is 12 years and my brother is 9 years old. We have lived at the Centre d’ Education de Developpement pour les Enfants Mauriciens (CEDEM), a centre for abused children in Mauritius, for three years now. Since I was 6 or 7 years old, I saw my father beating my mother almost every day until the day he killed her.
As I grew up, it was hard for me to witness the suffering endured by my mother and I stood up for her against my father.  My father became very violent towards me. I was often hurt and had bruises all over my body.  Once he broke my head, and fractured my arm.
My mother brought me to the hospital when I was injured, but did not disclose anything, saying that I was playing.  Once she said that I fell down from a tree.
On one occasion, the doctor started questioning my mother.  She denied that I was a battered child.  She stopped bringing me to the hospital and I suffered in silence and without medical assistance.
Zimbabwe: How I overcame the violence in me 
Mukanya* with Tapiwa Manyati
My name is Mukanya. I am an active member of Padare Men’s Forum on Gender and am currently the Mabvuku/Tafara Chapter Chairperson. My story is part of Padare’s efforts to document cases of men who were once abusers but have since changed their ways
I was born in 1967 and lived in Harare’s high-density suburb of Highfield with my parents.  I grew up with the belief that to be a man you have to use power and force in everything that you do. As I grew up I developed an interest in music and night clubbing. I became a womaniser, an abuser. I also relied heavily on marijuana. Effectively I just became a lost soul.
In 1984 I started working for a popular local band. We used to travel to Zambia, London, South Africa, and Mozambique among other countries.
Back home in Harare the band played at most popular nightclubs. I worked as the door attendant during shows. I was very popular with the girls because I was their ticket into the performances. Some women would do anything to get in so I let them come in exchange for sexual favours. There were always so many women who wanted to see their favourite band playing so some nights I had sex with five or more women.
All this happened while I was still married to my first wife Nozipo (not her real name).I usually spent nights away from home, leaving her alone with our little child. I never gave her room to ask where I was or to complain about anything. I felt I was being a real man.
Being a man meant that my word was final and women or other men who spoke their mind annoyed me. I used to beat her up just to make her realise who was the boss or the man of the house. Read full article
South Africa: Men battling discrimination and HIV/AIDS 
Dumisani Rebombo
Long before anyone heard of HIV/AIDS, women and girls experienced discrimination and oppression based on gender related factors. HIV and AIDS merely exacerbated the prevailing situation of inequality and injustice in Southern Africa and many other parts of the world.
While analysis of gender often focuses on women, rigid gender roles affect the health of both men and women. Moreover, these roles affect the behaviours of both men and women, something national strategies and messages must consider if we are to contain the pandemic.
There are long standing socio-cultural factors that make women and girls in Southern Africa more vulnerable to HIV. They are often less able to protect themselves or fight for their rights.
Rape and sexual violence are quite common in the region. Though there has been some positive changes, women are usually less educated and by extension less economically independent than men, and more disproportionately saddled with household work. Moreover, in most Southern African countries, lack of good legal structures, or their poor implementation, still allow discrimination against women.
The question of unequal gender relations is one of the most serious underlying factors that fuel the pandemic. For example, many women are not able to either negotiate for safer sex or make overall decisions about their reproductive health. This leaves them vulnerable to poverty, dependency to their male counter parts, and sexual violence. Read full article.

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