by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – MOBILE network operator, Vodacom, is shining a light on the alarming issue of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa and continent.
This is an effort to galvanise communities, big businesses and governments to explore more effective ways to equally protect those at risk.
The Vodacom Foundation this week hosted a thought-provoking event, “Gender-Based Violence Through a Different Lens”, to unpack how GBV impacts marginalised groups including persons with disabilities and individuals within the same-sex community.
Experts noted women are not the only victims of GBV in South Africa but children are at risk.
Chebet Chikumbu, Africa Director at Global Citizen, said more must be done to get Africa’s leaders on board with a “no tolerance” approach to GBV.
Only 42 African countries have adopted the African Union’s Maputo Protocol, she said.
To date, 13 countries must still ratify this important protocol, which advocates for the adoption of progressive legislation and policies aimed at accelerating women’s rights.
Masingita Masunga, television show host and Vodacom Foundation ambassador, bemoaned the exclusion of people with disabilities from important conversations.
“Disability is not incapability,” she said.
Masunga explained that denial of access to work and thus being excluded from economic activity was a huge driver of GBV.
She lives with cerebral palsy.
It is reported 934 girls under age 14 gave birth between April 2020 and March this year.
This highlights the prevalence of statutory rape.
Vodacom’s #SeeRedFlags campaign is tackling this issue and GBV, educating family and community members about the red flags signalling abuse and encouraging them to speak up.
Another initiative is Vodacom’s zero-rated Bright Sky SA mobile app, which empowers users with relevant resources in English, isiZulu, and Sesotho.
“This is one way that Vodacom is actively positioning itself as part of the solution, something we call on all private-sector organisations to address,” said Tando Mkosi, Managing Executive for Vodacom Group Talent.
– CAJ News