“We’re a resilient nation. When we all work together we have the power to create a safe society.”
With these words, Port Elizabeth rape survivor Andy Kawa launched the Kwanele Enuf is Enuf campaign against gender-based violence at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University today (Wednesday, 1 October).
The 51-year-old businesswoman, who made a pact with God during her 15-hour ordeal at Kings Beach on 9 December 2009 to dedicate her life to ending violence should she survive, began that commitment before hundreds of staff and students at a moving function at the university’s South Campus Auditorium.
“We can do this. The end of Apartheid seemed impossible, but justice prevailed. We can do this – we can change South Africa from the rape capital of the world to the safest place in the world.”
Her plea for a collective stance against gender-based violence was given an immediate boost with news from NMMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz that all 23 institutions of higher learning would be supporting the campaign.
Prof Swartz had attended a meeting hosted by Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande earlier in the week where it had been made clear that drastic inventions were needed to curb violence on campuses, and the Kwanele Enuf campaign was deserving of such national support.
Kawa said the campaign needed to start with acceptance.
“Just as an alcoholic’s first steps to recovery is in acknowledging the problem, so South Africa needs to accept the depth and scale of gender-based violence,” said Kawa, who was visiting Port Elizabeth when the attack took place almost five years ago.
In South Africa, one in three women is subjected to violence, while one in six boys are violated.
“Transformation can take place. But it needs to a holistic effort – at home, in the schools, at universities … but it can happen when we all participate.”
Prof Swartz said the University was fully supportive of the campaign and hoped that the Kwanele Enuf insignia would send a clear message to everyone on NMMU’s campuses that violence would not be tolerated.
“We are with you. NMMU has a zero-tolerance approach to violence.”
He added, however, that the University had a responsibility to its students – to educate them as to our constitutional values because parents no longer always offered the moral lessons of the past. “We need to inculcate such knowledge in all our students.”
Representatives of the Nelson Mandela Business Chamber and the Madiba Bay Development Programme also added their support for the national launch.
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