Being a woman is a danger in South Africa

Your intimate partner could be your next killer!

Optimized-EFC50518-4E1C-41C4-A1E6-C65DE6CA89DALilita Tyibilika holding a poster. Photo credit: Laura Chitima

Intimate femicide is a major issue in South Africa, with one woman dying every 8 hours at the hands of their intimate partners!

Many cases of women being killed by their intimate partners (husbands, boyfriends, male friend and ex-relations) have gone unnoticed and unheard for a long time, in South Africa. It was not until the recent killing of a young lady, Karabo Mokeona and the explosive hashtag #MenAreTrash that the issue was publicised. This hashtag took, the social media and internet by storm, sparking important conversations about femicide in South Africa.

The controversial hashtag #MenAreTrash, enraged many men as they do not like the generalization of this hashtag. Women created this hashtag on social media, “Twitter” to bring light to their lives’ experience at the hands of men. This phenomenon stems from a patriarchal society, where being born male is an instant privilege. However, not all men commit sexual violence, murder or domestic violence against their partners. Men, (particularly heterosexual) benefit from a patriarchal society, as women are subjected to some horrific levels of violence and oppression. The above stated hashtag gained momentum in the first week of May 2017, with the announcement of Karabo Mokoena’s death. This led many people to have the important discussion about intimate femicide. The #MenAreTrash movement is one of the instruments women are using to be heard.

Femicide is not a new narrative to South Africa, as it happens across the country and it is common in different cultures. It is deeply rooted in issues of gender, sexual orientation, race, legal practices and socio-economic status. Gender is a noticeable influence on violent behaviour, which is seen as normal behaviour by society at large and condoned by men and tolerated by most women. Women are more vulnerable to sexual and domestic violence, due to their vulnerability. Girls as young as 14 have been reportedly killed in femicidal killings and women are likely to be killed by their intimate partners. Well known and highly publicized cases are that of a world renowned South African athlete, Oscar Pistorious and the former African National Congress Youth League regional leader Patrick Wisani, who both killed their partners, in cold blood.

 

Lilita, a black women had this to say. This whole issue is honestly old news, woman are not safe here in South Africa, but now suddenly it is more amplified in the media and to my parents and friends, I have to download Apps so they all know my location whenever. I cannot drive after 8, because my parents are not comfortable with me driving so late at night. Anyone I meet I have to be extra cautious in what I say, or do because they could be the next killer.

Many victims of domestic and sexual violence are afraid of reporting the incidents to South African Police Service (SAPS), due to a number of reasons.  The reasons include among others, reaction time being slow and inefficient. The SAPS are notoriously known for mocking and turning victims away. A number of cases people have quoted the SAPS personnel saying “… you should handle it at home, it’s a domestic issue between partners, and hence it’s none of our business…..”  Many officers lack emotional intelligence, empathy and skills to handle such cases with the necessary sensitivity. In addition, the lack of skills to investigate and handling of cases often leads to a number of dockets disappearing or not being opened at all. Corruption which has also plagued SAPS, just makes the situation even worse. SAPS personnel directly benefit from missing dockets and cases, through bribe payments. SAPS personnel do not do their job properly and diligently, as a result there are large numbers of uncharged cases. Victims usually end up withdrawing charges, due to intimidation, frustration, humiliation and fear. This normally leaves many victims physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, a scar that never heals. Victims usually walk away with no faith and hope in the South African justice system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qbb_nQQPPk

Girls and women are afraid of men. They do not feel safe in their own spaces, let alone when they are with their intimate partners. Femicide in South Africa is reportedly to be five times higher than the global average. Intimate femicide is a growing problem and needs to be addressed soon, by the government and other influential leaders. The SAPS needs to develop a better system handle such issues and improve the training of its personnel. This is not just a women problem, but South Africa’s problem. It is important to note that not all men are bad, but women need to keep their eyes open. While recent incidents have drawn attention to the reality of women in South Africa, it is unfortunately nothing new. Perhaps it will finally be a cause for awareness and better measures put in place. One question remains are women safe in South Africa?

 

Audio: https://soundcloud.com/user649777558/journalism

 

 

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Human rights exploitation

Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery.

In recent years a number children and women have gone missing in South Africa. A phenomenon of human trafficking has taken over the streets of South Africa. Many are recruited through deception, coercion and force to be exploited.

Human trafficking is a violation of human rights. There is a significant problem with human trafficking in South Africa and, it seems to be an increasing problem. The state is unable to combat the various magnitude of people being intra-trafficked, trafficked in and out of the country, due to no properly crafted laws in place. This is compounded by the poor South African border controls, makes the South African boarders porous resulting in a  number of undocumented and illegal immigrants into the country.

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A protester at a #StopGenderViolence march in Johannesburg 2016.

Photo credit: Laura Chitima

South Africa is a destination for many victims of human trafficking and a central point for trafficking women and children. It is believed that a thousand women from Mozambique are trafficked into South Africa on a daily basis. Many South Africans are trafficked to China and Hong Kong, while others are trafficked via South Africa to East European countries. Girls and women are trafficked for sex work or sex exploitation. Thai, Chinese and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt bonded sexual exploitation. Boys and men are not excluded from this narrative as they are also trafficked. They are exploited for labour, within the mining sector, agriculture sector and for civil war involvement as soldiers.

Image References: Images sources

In South Africa many children are largely trafficked inside the country from rural areas to urban areas like Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. They’re trafficked for sexual exploitation, labour and many for muti (to obtain human body parts for medicine). Criminal rings and local street gangs organize child prostitution in many cities, usually popular tourist destinations. In the past many of these children were runaways, but the runaways cannot satisfy the demand, hence human trafficking is on the increase. Criminals and local gangs are aware of how lucrative the industry is and taking advantage of this demand.

Human trafficking is a lucrative business. It is estimated that they make seven to ten billion rand a year. It maintains a low profile, so it is difficult to get accurate numbers. South Africa is still in the process of implementing human trafficking laws. In order for South to combat this new phenomenon of human trafficking South Africa needs to ensure their laws are up to the United Nations standard. This phenomenon of human rights exploitation has many people involved and it will be trickier to find the people being trafficked if things are not implemented correctly and soon.

 

Let’s ‘normalize’ Rape

South African’s no longer reacts to rape statistics.

Rape coverage in South Africa is a controversial and sensitive topic, due to reporting’s  of cases and careless handling of cases. Rape Statistics  aren’t accounted for. Cases of Rape reported to SAPS aren’t  an accurate indication of Rape statistics in South Africa.

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From left to right; Laura Chitima, Refilwe Motlhabane and Alisha Mahmood at Monash South Africa campus for the #Breakthesilence March held on  the 22nd of September 2016.

Photo credit: Lilita Tyibilika

Many victims of Rape are afraid to come forward, because of the stigma attached with being a victim. Another issue with reporting rape is the way police officials handle cases. Multiple officials lack training and compassion, which often leads to humiliation of a victim. Rape victims often feel as if they’re being raped all over again. This has a huge impact on rapes reported and the accurate rape statistics.

Rape statistics no longer bring reactions out of South Africans, because they’ve normalized rape as an everyday thing.

Audio: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7DBAEEf8NWFSmNjaWx2dS1mTU0

 

 

 

Monash finally sets things straight.

Monash management undoubtedly responds to students concerns.

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Students on Monash Campus. Photo credit Laura Chitima

Monash South Africa makes students a priority, as they deliver on their promises. Many of the students are pleased with the outcome.
Last year many students were dissatisfied with the management of Monash. They did not understand why they were paying so much, as certain facilities were not provided, or were not looked after.

Various things affected students such as not having 24 hour library services available, or dealing with an untidy library. There were not enough printers and students could not access eTextbooks. There was not a Clinic on campus leaving students puzzled, as many had to seek medical assistance off campus.
Management has now ensured students have 24 hour library services, with hourly cleaning staff. Access to eTextbooks has been made available via eReserves. Printers are now available in all buildings. The Clinic is open and many students can access medical assistance on campus.

Kefilwe Matlhaga a Monash student says this has proven persistence from students is important to improve the Monash South Africa campus and campus facilities.
There is still room for improvement.

How 9 employees effortlessly keep the business open?

 

Small employee force giving big companies a run for their money.

downloadPhoto credit M. Oosthuizen

The Venture Tents business has an employee force of six permanent employees and three part-time employees. Based in Krugerdrop where they deal with manufacturing, repairs and general maintenance.

The owner Aamir considers this a family business. Aamir believes the business has a competitive edge due to their family philosophy. This is our business and not individual’s business. This philosophy has led the business to growing and getting more clients. The personal touch of understanding and including the employees in the business has led it be stable and competing with other local companies.

The business is busy during the end of the year.