#100MenMarch gains momentum
July 10, 2018
Pretoria, South Africa: As part of the centenary celebrations of former President Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu, government and various social partners today embarked on the national #100MenMarch to stop violence against women and children.
The march in part celebrated their lives but also seeks to raise awareness on the scourge of violence against women and children.
The march drew at least 100 men from various sectors of society, such as government, business, labour, faith-based organisations, non-profit and media organisations to stop the abuse of women and children.
Ministers and Deputy Ministers supported by representatives from various faith-based organisations and societal formations, took turns on stage to denounce the rampant abuse of women and children, as the #100MenMarch concluded at the Union Buildings this afternoon.
They all made a call for men to respect and protect the vulnerable in society and for women to stand up for their rights.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, who was joined by National Police Commissioner General John Sitole and hundreds of cadets from the police academy, urged police not to turn away women who seek assistance at stations.
“The spirit of the march should be every day. It should not just be today and you go home and do exactly what you are not supposed to do.
“Men, we have invited you here today, especially the young men training as police… When a woman says ‘no’; it must be ‘no’.
“When these women come battered, bruised [and] bloodied at the police station, don’t turn them back home to negotiate because next time she won’t come home. By the time she doesn’t come back to the police station, she’ll be dead. Let’s make sure we don’t send them back because sending her back is sending her to her death.”
Cele urged women to leave abuse men, saying: “Any man that points a finger at you, turnaround and walk away. Don’t ever stay with a man that puts his fingers in your face [because] next time he’ll put a knife in your heart. That’s not a man. That’s an animal.”
Social activist Yusuf Abramjee said the campaign against the abuse of women and children should be throughout the year and not just a once-off event. However, he saluted government for the initiative.
“Today we want to tell the perpetrators: the law is coming for you. We are appealing to our law enforcement agencies to arrest, convict and punish them,” he said.
Mbuyiselo Botha from the Commission for Gender Equality said government could not tackle the scourge on its own. To triumph over gender-based violence, he said, government and society at large need to focus on the boy child.
“It can’t be business as usual. No means no,” he said.
The #100MenMarch was seen as a motivating force to ensure that men break the chain of abuse.