South Africa: 'It Can't Be Business As Usual Any More,' Say Civil Society Organisations


Representatives from civil society and faith-based organisations heeded activist coalition #UniteBehind's call to stand up against gender-based violence and xenophobia.

Around 50 people from Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Elsies Rivier and other areas across Cape Town braved the rain to meet at the Grand Parade outside City Hall on Thursday 12 September to participate in public action to share messages and call for unity and action from communities and government.

Their message was one of African unity and strength.

Laura Gillion, from human rights organisation Africa Unite, spoke to the issues of language and how discrimination works its way into the common vernacular.

"Europeans are called tourists, but Africans are called foreign nationals. We say 20,000 women are raped instead of saying 20,000 men are rapists," she said to cheers.

Gillion's colleague Wonke Mapegi touched on the controversial #MenAreTrash topic during his speech. The hashtag, which sparks both assent and ire on social media platforms, was written on posters and placards left taped to the walls of Parliament after last week's march against gender-based violence that saw two dozen people arrested.

"We as men, we are trash. I am trash," said Mapegi. "If we aren't the perpetrators of rape, we know perpetrators....

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