Forty faith-based organisations officially launched the 70 Days campaign on the 8th of October, in an effort to End Gender-Based Violence. The 70-day campaign (initially planned as a 100-day campaign) aims to facilitate discourse, create more awareness and lead to action and accountability.
The organisations together with civil society groups said they want to make sure “their homes are in order first” when it comes to the collective fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in the country.
The leaders acknowledged the role played by religion in creating an environment in which these heinous acts could be carried out and could continue. Sonke Gender Justice Co-founder, Reverend Bafana Khumalo said the various faith-based groups had come together to play a crucial role in ending the scourge of GBV and femicide.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa co-ordinator, Ashmeer Joseph said it was evident that patriarchy and its foot soldiers, toxic masculinity and misogyny, was prevalent in the faith-based sector, thus leading to the idea for a campaign to actively take a stand against it.
We, Will, Speak Out SA head Daniela Gennrich confirmed that faith-based groups, places of worship and GBV activists had met in June to discuss what it would take to create a society free from GBV and femicide. The collective said it would be aiding and supporting faith-based organisations to become actively engaged in anti-GBV activities and co-ordinating this work for a wider impact.
“So much is happening in little pockets. If we can find ways to collaborate and work together, we can have a massive impact on (the eradication of) GBV and femicide in the country,” added Gennrich. She said they also tried to be inclusive, with members of the LGBTQIA+ community participating.
Minister of Women in the Presidency, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expressed her gratitude to all the organizations who were involved. She said she was happy that there was a new “strategic framework” and that “no such strategy could work without this vital support”, said,Nkoana-Mashabane.