Series of portraits give a face to those affected by gender-based violence

South Africa still isn’t doing enough to end gender-based violence. Despite shocking statistics – the female homicide rate in 2009 was five times the global rate – there is still no national strategic plan to end gender-based violence.

An alliance between 56 civil society organisations has called on the government to come up with ways to end gender-based violence. Although government committed to the idea back in 2012, there’s been little in the way of implementation since.

Last year, as part of the coalition’s plan to get government to commit to developing the plan, Sonke Gender Justice, which is part of the alliance, launched a series of postcards highlighting how different people have been affected by gender-based violence.

Sonke postcards 1
However, steps to implement a national strategic plan (NSP) on gender-based violence have made little headway.

Tanya Charles, policy development and advocacy specialist at Sonke Gender Justice, said campaigners are currently busy drafting the strategic plan, which will later be delivered to the relevant departments in government.

“When the National Council on Gender Based Violence was created, civil society finally felt that this was an indication of the political will needed to bring about a national framework and budget to deal with gender-based violence,” Charles said.

However, following a cabinet reshuffle, gender violence appears to have fallen off the government’s agenda. The new minister responsible for women’s issues, Susan Shabangu, is focusing instead on women’s economic empowerment, Charles said.

There have been other attempts to convince government to take gender-based violence more seriously. A report by KPMG, in partnership with Sonke and other groups, showed that gender-based violence is not just a private matter but that it has a huge effect on the economy. According to the report, gender-based violence costs South Africa between R28.4-billion and R42.4-billion each year.

“We need more organisations to add their support to the call for a national, costed [strategic plan] and to participate in planned marches and related events,” Charles said.

Nosapho Nqanqali [Sonke postcards]

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You can see all of the postcards here.

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All images courtesy of Sonke Gender Justice.

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