South Africa: The Problem With President Ramaphosa's Call to Mourn Covid-19 Deaths and GBV Victims At the Same Time


The response to Covid-19 was fast, awareness was created quickly and effectively - government accountability has improved. More active and robust digital and media strategies are being used to fight the spread of Covid-19. All these are strategies that should have been adopted long ago in the fight against gender-based violence.

South Africa finds itself dealing with a pandemic within a pandemic.

The country mourned Covid-19 and gender-based violence (GBV) victims from 25 to 29 November in accordance with a statement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Many saw this as a bold move and a win for efforts to address GBV, but it is rather disappointing.

Ironically, the mourning period fell within the international campaign known as 16 Days of Activism Against GBV. Almost daily we mourn the lives of women lost at the hands of men.

However, now that we are living in unfamiliar territory, we also mourn the lives lost due to Covid-19. Both are pandemics with different characteristics. The major difference is that Covid-19 is new and in some ways beyond our control.

GBV, on the other hand, did not just emerge overnight. It is a symptom of a patriarchy intentionally designed and reinforced by systems and...

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