The month of August in South Africa commemorates Women’s Month as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956. The march was a symbol of women stating they have had enough and widening the idea for change.
As part of their Women’s Month social media campaign, SPARK Schools’ young mbokodos (strong women) submitted a series of heartfelt letters expressing their opinions on the kind of world they would like to grow up in and the impact they would like to make in their communities as the young women of South Africa. 64 years later and the narrative has still not changed.These young scholars would like to see an end to gender-based violence, femicide, and inequality.
The consistent and common message in all their stories is the fear of what tomorrow holds, the bleakness of their futures, and the gruesome world they will have to raise their children in, should every South African individual not play their part in ensuring that gender-based violence is stopped in its tracks. SPARK Ferndale grade 7 Chulumanco Khondlo wrote, “I wake up afraid that this is the world we are living in. I just want us to unite and stop this. I would like to live in a world without abuse.
I don’t want to look at a boy and be afraid of the person he will become. That’s why I want a world without gender-based violence”. Their ideal world is of strong sisters empowering each other, where women have an equal voice in society, where women have the courage to leave abusive relationships and one where they don’t have to fear men.
“As a young woman, it is my dream to live in a society where men don’t have the intention to rape and murder children and women. I dream that I grow up in a society where women have a voice, a society where women can wear what they want. I wish that women can own more businesses and be judged according to their mental capacity and not their looks’’, says Grade 7 Tshegofatso Sedibe from SPARK Maboneng.
How many more campaigns like #NotInMyName and #AmINext should women create as a cry to end femicide and gender-based violence? These young mbokodos voices are indicative of the transformational generation of young women who are in search of peace and becoming the change in their societies.
“At SPARK Schools, we live by our core values. They are essential to nurturing SPARK scholars who will shape society for the better in the future. We encourage our scholars to be critical thinkers and think about how they can make a difference in their communities and their country’’, concludes Bailey Thomson Blake, Chief of Schools at SPARK Schools.