South Africa: Take Back the Night

South Africa: Take Back the Night

Date: December 15, 2011
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Finally the big day 25 November 2011, had arrived for theTake back the Night march that Gender Links coordinates with partners on an annual basis. Being the proud gender activist that I am I could hardly contain my excitement. The march, organised by GL, City Of Johannesburg and ADAPT was to take place in one of South Africa’s oldest townships-Alexandra.

Take back the night march is an event held across the globe to during the 16 Days of Activism against gender violence campaign. The march came about after the realisation that many women are unable to enjoy their basic right to walk down a street at night without fear of experiencing some form of violence.

The Southern Africa Take Back the Night campaign aims to reclaim the right of women to be safe in all places at all times of the day and night. It fosters collaboration with local government and other stakeholders to take back dangerous streets in cities and towns across Southern Africa

By the time I arrived at the meeting place a sizeable crowd was already gathered clad t-shirts with messages calling for an end to gender based violence and a safer world for all women and children. The numbers quickly swelled up as community members joined in and burst into song. Everyone was ready for war against gender-basedviolence and could not wait to reclaim safe spaces deep in the crime hot spots of Gauteng province. The police and the fire brigade did not disappoint, they were there right on time and the four-kilometre march commenced. The brave women led from the front singing and dancing as the men and children followed.

The whole community came to a standstill as the women and men took over showing off their banners all determined to drive their message home that, “Enough is enough!” violence against women and children cannot be tolerated anymore. By the time we reached our destination near the river, we were all soaked in sweat.

The local pastor led the gathering in prayer and candles were light. Speaker after speaker proclaimed the end of gender violence in Alexandra and South Africa in general. It was dark when the final remarks were made and it was time to go home. I am proud to have participated in Tack Back the night March 2011!

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