Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities requested September 8th to be day of prayer and mourning.
We must face the facts.
Our country is gripped by an epidemic of violence – specifically, violence against women.
The last few months have brought us one terrible story after another. Uyinene Mrwetyana, a student at the University of Cape Town, was murdered when she went to the post office. Leighandre Jegels, a professional boxer, was killed by her boyfriend. Karabo Mokoena, Bongeka Phungula, Popi Qwabe – these are just a handful of the women taken from us in recent years.
But these high-profile deaths don’t tell the whole story. We all know women who’ve been abused or raped whose stories never made it into the headlines. They are our mothers, sisters and daughters. Sometimes, they are us.
As a result of this tidal wave of horror, people have begun to take to the streets. On September 4th, hundreds of protesters marched in Cape Town’s central business district, singing and calling on the government to work harder to protect women. Similar marches have taken place in Durban and Sandton.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, declared September 8th as a day of prayer and mourning. There’s always time for prayer, but let us remember that Heaven helps those who help themselves. If we want to save the women of South Africa, we need to show compassion and love to victims of violence; we must ensure that fathers teach their sons to respect women’s bodies; and we must continue to ask those who have power to use their power to restore South Africa’s honour.