Nelson Mandela University’s Yanga Lusasa speaks to AlgoaFM about GBV

By Ashley Malepe

President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2019 announced that the government will implement Emergency Response Action Plan to combat the scourge of Gender-Based violence and Femicide in South Africa given the alarming exponential cases in the country. This response action plan is synonymous with the 16 Days of Activism campaign for no violence against women and children which runs annually from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. During this 16-days campaign period, the civil society, private sectors along with the government, will observe and host a series of community and sector dialogues which will foster a collaborative effort in combating GBVF in the country.

To champion the 16-days activism campaign, on the 26th of November 2020, AlgoaFM, Kaycee Rossouw spoke to Yanga Lusasa who is the founder of the Nelson Mandela University’s society group, Ebuhlanti. Ebuhlanti is an isiXhosa term which means a kraal, owing to the analogy of men sitting in a circle formation close to the kraal and conversating. Ebuhlanti has its core mandate to empower male students and to help better refine their leadership skills. The Leadership programme “#LeadFromTheFront” is aimed at encouraging men to take up the responsibility to behave in a moral and ethical manner, which resonates with the value system of society. One of the key aims is to “encourage men to stand for what is right and eradicate Gender based Violence and negative stereotypes.”

Ebuhlanti believes that educating and creating awareness amongst young men will evidently help fight the scourge against GBVF. The society has had huge impact at the university. “I have had young men coming to me and giving me testimonies, attesting to how what we teach them has improved their lives and way of thinking which to me by far is one of the best outcomes that I have wanted to achieve since the starting of the society,” Yanga Lusasa.

Lee-Anne Gernamanos who is a lawyer and co-founder of the Embrace Project said on Multimedia Live that “lockdown caused an increase in GBV because it effectively made it easier for perpetrators to torment their victims with little or no room for support services.”

Lusasa also supported the claim that the lockdown from alert level five also exacerbated the cases, tripling the GBVF cases reported. “The cases have tripled, and we need to intensify the call to male figures to work on themselves, we ultimately want to leave footprints for others to follow in terms of education and creating awareness around GBVF and what it means to be a man integrated in the society as a role model.” Lusasa said.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign has these key commemorative days in between such as the International Day of No Violence against Women on the 25th of November and International Human Rights Day on the 10th of December. Other key commemorative days during this period include World Aids Day on the 1st December and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, on the third 3rd December of every year.

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