Empowering Voices and Taking Action

Written by SSA Youth Influencer Zwelithini Mkhabela

Earlier this month, the Ekukhanyeni Primary School in Nhlazatje in the Mpumalanga Region became a hub of empowerment and unity as it hosted the Scout Region’s ongoing GBV awareness programme which aims to address and combat gender-based violence (GBV) in local communities. Approximately 120 Scouters, Rovers, Scouts and representatives from 12 local stakeholders, including the Potters House church, SAPS (South African Police Services), and the inspiring GBV survivor Ms. Manzini participated in the event.

“The Imbizo was part of the bigger GBV Awareness initiative currently running in the Region,” explains project coordinator Sharon Giveness. “The diverse gathering saw participants expressing their solidarity for the campaign through poetry and dance, sending a powerful message against GBV. Guest speaker and GBV survivor Ms. Manzini bravely shared her personal experience of abuse, shedding light on the harsh realities faced by victims. Her story served as a positive reminder of the importance of addressing and taking action against GBV.

The team was surprised by the unexpected high turnout, surpassing the anticipated number of attendees. This overwhelming response to our call for action clearly shows the community’s commitment and determination to address GBV and to creating a safer environment for all. Through shared stories, artistic expressions, and educational initiatives, I think that the event left a lasting impact on all attendees, fostering a sense of unity and empowerment in the fight against gender-based violence.

I also want to thank the Scouters involved for their dedication and support. Their contribution played a pivotal role in making the programme a success, showcasing the power of community collaboration in tackling societal issues”, concludes Sharon.

Even though the Imbizo focused on addressing GBV, Regional Commissioner Mr. Manqoba Dlamini took the opportunity to elaborate on the values and educational programmes of the South African Scout Movement.  Community members and children present learnt what Scouting stands for, what it does and how being in the Scout Movement can change lives.

We thank our partners HIVOS and the Alwaleed Philanthropies via the World Scout Foundation.