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South Africa marks 30 years of democracy while battling GBV

───   HEIDRÈ MALGAS 14:44 Tue, 16 Apr 2024

South Africa marks 30 years of democracy while battling GBV | News Article
The advocates for the Sisterhood Advocates Project (SHAP). Photo supplied

Many female survivors of GBV struggle to get justice due to multiple factors.

South Africa commemorates three decades of democracy this month. As the nation observes Freedom Month, it confronts a significant challenge: the pervasive violence against women. 

The Hlanganisa Community Fund, an intermediary grantmaker, aims to fortify social accountability and champion human rights to achieve social justice for all. Among its efforts is the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).

Prudence Siweya, Communications specialist for Hlanganisa said research and statistics uncover a disturbing trend. Many female survivors of GBV struggle to get justice due to multiple factors. Despite three decades of democracy, these obstacles encompass a lack of knowledge about legal options, a limited understanding of their rights, deep-rooted shame and stigma, the fear of being victimised again, mistrust in the criminal justice system, and the overwhelming challenge of navigating complex court procedures.

“In 2022, Hlanganisa initiated its Sisterhood Advocates Project (SHAP) to render justice more accessible for women and advocate for GBV survivors. Through SHAP, Hlanganisa has taken substantial steps in combating GBV and empowering survivors,” Siweya explained.

Hlanganisa’s contributions range from increasing the reporting of cases – thanks to the supportive assistance provided to GBV survivors by Sisterhood Advocates (SHAs) – to boosting collaboration among GBV services. This has led to a more unified method of tackling GBV at the community level.

Gender-based violence remains a grave concern nationwide. In recent months, Central South Africa has witnessed particularly alarming incidents. Women for Change SA, a Facebook and Instagram page, reported the tragic discovery of Thabile Granny Leeuw’s body inside a burnt vehicle in Loerierpark, Bloemfontein, on 28 January. She was allegedly brutally murdered by her ex-husband, who was subsequently arrested.


In another distressing event, Palesa Mofokeng (33) was shot dead on her way to work in Vanderbijlpark on 5 April. A day after this brutal act, four men, including her ex-husband, a medical doctor, were apprehended.

Elvira Syster (23) faced a horrendous fate in Luckhoff, Free State, on March 24. Allegedly, after being gang-raped by three men, she was fatally stoned and pelted with bricks and rocks.

These incidents underscore the critical issue of gender-based violence in our nation. Through collaborative efforts and relentless advocacy, Hlanganisa is committed to empowering communities, elevating voices, and challenging the systems that perpetuate gender-based violence.

OFM News/Heidrè Malgas cg

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