Every 3 hours a woman is murdered…
Body Of Evidence(In Theory)
Youth Day is fast approaching in South Africa and I thought it would be timely for me to celebrate this well known holiday by doing what I enjoy the most which is to raise societal issues and crimes that continue to plague the South African society such as Gender Based Violence and Femicide. South Africa is a hotspot for many crimes including human trafficking and modern slavery. However, Gender Based Violence has become a toxic norm in the country with crimes such as rape which have increased by 1.7% and 53,000 cases alone in the year 2020.
Reality is scarier than the statistics portrayed because we tend to forget that behind every ambiguous numeric is a helpless victim that is hanging onto their last hope or their graves have become a fate they weren’t prepared to face. Gender Based Violence can take on many forms and isn’t limited to the frightening physical abusive scenarios that women and children are made to endure. The crime can be expressed through usage of abusive language in reference of gender norms. Additionally, the term can also describe the normative gender role expectations that are expected to be upheld by certain genders i.e. women belong in the kitchen whilst men supposedly belong in an authoritative position such as the boardroom.
Body of Evidence(In Dialogue)
I had the amazing honor to engage in dialogue with Mandla Mbothwe, a South African multi award-winning theatre maker, arts and performance specialist as well as the driving force behind the campaign “Body Of Evidence” which aims to raise awareness about the plight of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in South Africa. Mandla is quite a force to be reckoned with because firstly he’s a man with a mission who pursues the ends of justice to uplift communities by bringing artists like himself together. Secondly, he’s a citizen that uses his voice to become proactive in a society that is complacent about standing against realities that matter and affect us all.
Gender-Based Violence does not only affect women as the narrative would heavily tend to be emphasized. Of course, we can conclude that the crime disproportionally affects women of all races in a rather disturbing manner. However, all genders can be subjected to the crime including the LGBTQI+ community who are often excluded in conversations and platforms that discuss these pertinent truths.
I found Mandla’s wisdom to be intriguing when he highlighted the significance the Covid-19 pandemic played in magnifying the severities of the criminality. The lockdown exacerbated social ills that found victims disgruntled with the criminal justice system which has proven continuously to silence hurt voices or rather as Mandla would gracefully put it, “the spines” of our community– symbolizing the role women play as pillars of humanity.
Body Of Evidence (In The Future)
Crimes such as Gender Based-Violence and Femicide cannot be wished away with a blink of an eye neither can they be dependent on stale policies that are declared with meaningless promises or do not serve the voice of the victim. Campaigns such as Body Of Evidence however are the future that as a country we should look forward to receiving with open arms. If we are going to build a country and a community of people who are accountable in their actions and their role as global citizens, the conversation needs to be joined.
We need to be proactive in thought and translate this into action. The likes of Mandla serve as a great example.
“The Body Of Evidence Campaign will continue exist even in 10-20 years time to drive the commitment of Ubuntu in our societies which should always serve as a pillar for us all”–Mandla Mbothwe.
To follow and support the work Body Of Evidence is doing, please check out their website on: https://watch.thewest.com.au/show/398096
For similar stories on my page, please read: https://www.thepertinentinfluence.com/2021/05/29/kfc-south-africa/