South Africa: Lending a Helping Hand

18 September 2019

Growing up can be very challenging for young people as they try to find their place in the world.

Without any guidance they can easily find themselves involved with drugs, crime or find themselves being teenage parents. Once they are on this track, their lives are on a slippery slope.

In Hammanskraal, a small town in northern Gauteng, an organisation called Rre le Mme has taken the responsibility of equipping young people with the life skills that will assist them to handle any challenges they may face.

They do this by raising awareness amongst young people on issues of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) as well as bullying. They do so in an effort for them to learn how to live in harmony together. The organisation also offers sanitary towels to young girls.

The organisation's youth corner offers a safe space for young people to talk about their problems and in cases where necessary, the organisation links them with the South African Police Service and the Department of Social Development.

Established two years ago, the organisation was also amongst the partners of the 2018 historic 100 Men March, for no Violence against Women and Children.

The march was aimed at highlighting the negative impact of violence against women and children on the South African society.

"After the march we decided to focus more on young girls by offering them a platform where they can talk about their challenges," founding member of Rre le Mme foundation, Meshack Kekana, said in an interview with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on Tuesday.

He said men need to be part of the solution for violence against women and children.

"It (gender-based violence) needs us as men to champion it. In South Africa we are faced with a number of challenges, the biggest challenge being that of abuse against women and children. This has escalated over the years and doesn't seem to be slowing down," Kekana said.

He emphasised the importance of working with young boys to tackle the scourge.

"Gender-based violence needs our urgent attention, we are fully behind efforts by government and cooperate to eradicate it. We also need to come together as communities and families to address it," Kekana said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces to focus the attention of elected public representatives and the nation at large on the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide.

The sitting was called for in terms of Section 84(2)(d) of the Constitution, read with Rule 7(1)(b) of the Joint Rules of Parliament called for a Joint Sitting of Parliament for Wednesday.

"In the last two weeks South Africa's approach to violence perpetrated against women has changed fundamentally. We all have the responsibility to ensure that these events become the turning point in our fight against gender-based violence," the President said in a letter to Parliament dated Thursday.

President Ramaphosa recently engaged with protesters at Parliament where he gave women the assurance that government will intensify action against men who kill women and commit various forms of abuse.

The march to Parliament took place amid a spate of deadly attacks on women and girls in various parts of the country.

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