WSU HOLDS GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IMBIZO
Walter Sisulu University’s Buffalo City Campus (BCC) held a gender-based violence Imbizo following the apparent rise in femicide and violence within South Africa’s youth, at the weekend.
The gathering was the first of its kind for the university and part of a long-term plan towards creating awareness and dialogue within the subject of patriarchy, misogyny and abusive behavior.
“We as Student Affairs are planning to host more seminars and honest talks on violence but we need your [students] assistance in spreading the word by informing others to attend so that all students can grow in understanding and unlearning such behavior.” Said BCC Student Affairs Director Ntsiki Nohako-Mtiki.
Organised by the health and counseling services, the event saw many students participating in addressing their grievances on the abuse of female bodies and how more needs to be done to address this epidemic.
Vocal and withholding nothing, former President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) Aurie Bevu warned females to dare not entertain any form of violence in relationships or any other male counterpart.
“Know when to leave the table when love is no longer there. Take note and be conscious of every act or word with an underlining of disrespect, disregard, and violence” said Bevu.
She further warned the men to stop the violence and how “If you are not part of the solution, if you are silent in the face of violence, you’re just as guilty as the perpetrator.”
In their 2016/17 statistics report, the South African Police Services reported a total of 49,660 sexual offenses of which 39,828 were for reported rape cases. Many males and females still fear to report sexual abuse.
The event had first-year student Athenkosi Fani and Kumkani FM journalist Vuyolwethu Ngcofe representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, Programmes Coordinator at LoveLife Zikhona Breakfast, WSU Health and Counselling services and also the WSU Drama Society.
Fani, a proud and openly gay man opened the function with an emotional poem titled ‘Who am I?’ where he indicated how the LGBTI community is as human as the rest of the world and how everyone in all honesty only seeks to love and be loved to feel whole.
Fani has been very vocal about student and LGBTI rights on campus and social media, even being dubbed their chosen leader’ on Facebook on behalf of students without funding.
Representing LoveLife, a youth-centered non-profit organisation focused on HIV prevention, Zikhona Breakfast told students to speak out and ‘allow themselves to multi-date and not surrender themselves to another person’, reminding them to always practice caution at all times.
To reflect and critically evaluate the days’ talks, a break-away session was formed amongst two groups which ended with the need to move forward with such progressive spaces across the university and also the urge to form a Men’s Development Forum was pressed.
The forum is said to be a ground for the tackling of ill masculine behavior and also a development platform for all men, irrespective of sexual preference.
Long-serving WSU Psychologist Phumla Mahali said she’s happy with the progress made but also admits more work needs to be done to break cultural norms that perpetuate violence against women and the LGBTI community.