Following President Cyril Ramaphosa call last year for a collaborative effort in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV), Markham amplified its ongoing efforts, recently donating R500,000 to the Sonke Gender Justice NPO from funds raised through the sales of its Help! Don’t Harm campaign t-shirts which launched in October 2020.
In 2019, Markham launched its Help! Don’t Harm campaign ahead of 16 Days of Activism in support of victims of GBV. The campaign is aimed at educating and inciting a change in attitudes related to GBV. Part of the Markham CSI brand strategy is two-fold; firstly, partner with local suppliers to create limited-edition apparel to sell at its retail outlets, nationwide. The proceeds of sales are donated to reputable NGOs and initiatives that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of GBV victims. Secondly, to provide a platform for customers to pledge alongside the brand to protect vulnerable citizens.
Limited edition range
Last year, retailer collaborated with upcoming female graphic designer, Boineelo Modise (Neelo) to create a limited edition range of T-shirts featuring line art of human silhouettes, which were sold online and in stores, nationwide. A portion of the sales of every t-shirt was allocated to the Sonke Gender Justice organisation.
“I am passionate about creating art that sparks conversation,” said Modise. She saw the platform as an opportunity for her to open up more conversations about GBV, especially amongst the youth.
At the cheque hand-over Nicol Rademeyer, head of marketing at Markham, stressed, “As a business, we do not condone any form of violence and are engaging in initiatives that focus on social engagement and being agents of change. As a men’s fashion brand, we know that looking good is important, but doing good and being an example to others ranks much higher for us. It is our responsibility as men of this country to stand together, enforce change and ensure a brighter future for all.”
Upon receipt of the donation at the head offices of The Foschini Group (TFG) in Parow, Cape Town, co-executive director for the Sonke Gender Justice Organisation Bafana Khumalo commented, “We thank the Markham team profusely for their generous contribution to our foundation. Not only will it help us financially to continue our work in the community, but this initiative has helped raise awareness amongst the men of our country about the important role they play as role models to other men.”
In order to continue their work in communities across South Africa, Sonke Gender Justice relies on generous donations from the public and private sectors. Funds are allocated to the much-needed resources and infrastructure the organisation offers to victims of GBV. This includes providing a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse, offering legal support, court preparation with victims, liaison with SAPS, health screening and much more. In addition, Sonke Gender Justice believes that education is key, and that young boys and men need to be mentored to become role models in their communities, and advocates for behavioural change. Workshops are conducted at various schools and community centres around the country.