This past Sunday, local taverns in South Africa rolled out a programme to help combat the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide (GBV/F), Tavern Dialogues aims to educate and empower men to drive change in their communities by actively engaging in initiatives to address the societal challenge required.
Dubbed the ‘Tavern Dialogues’ the initiative aims to empower both men and women to address (GBV/F) in their communities. The initiative is headed by the NLTC, who represent over 34,500 liquor traders in the township space. The Dialogues, convened by subject matter experts, will consist of facilitated engagements with groups of men from township communities in the tavern environment. In these group settings, the topic of GBV&F will be discussed to get men to understand what constitutes to GBV&F and how to address it.
In support of the programme, NLTC partnered with Rise Against GBV, the South African Police Service, Distell, and Consumatech. They launched it Tembisa on the 9th of August and will continue to take place during August and September at 10 taverns in Orange Farm (the highest number of GBV cases are reported in this area of Gauteng). Throughout the month, Distell will also distribute over 2,000 care packs to shelters supporting women and victims of gender-based violence.
“Taverns are cornerstones of the township economy and play a vital role in promoting responsible drinking, including becoming champions in the fight against GBV in their communities. Taverners play a critical social and economic role in their communities. A large number of tavern owners are women – 54% – some of whom who have been exposed to GBV within their community, their families and their friendship circles,” said NLTC Representative.
He pointed out the causes of GBV&F are varied, and that the abuse of alcohol can play a role.“The taverns are at the coal face of the impacts on the communities in which they operate. By leveraging the taverns’ township network and activating their real estate which will act as safe zones, we can reach communities and deliver a high-impact social change initiative and improve the reach and accessibility of support platforms for perpetrators, would-be perpetrators, and survivors.”
According to the NLTC, many campaigns and interventions are at best once-off projects and do not engage men sufficiently long enough to deliver the desired shift in understanding, mentality, and, ultimately, behaviour change.
Bridgitte Backman, Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Distell said: “Gender-based violence and femicide are societal issues that impact every aspect of life. This issue is not only devastating for victims of violence and their families, but also entails significant social and economic costs and therefore requires a multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders. As Distell, we recognize that failure to address this issue has wider implications for society in general and for women specifically”.