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South Africa

Thousands protest in South Africa over rising violence against women, The Guardian, 05/09/2019,

In response to the rising murder and rape of women in South Africa (41,000 rapes and 2,700 murders between March 2018 and March 2019), and the rape and killing of university student Uyinene Mrwetyana by a Cape Town post office employee, women all over the country responded by blocking the entrance to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, launching the #AmINext movement and the #SandtonShutdown (or #TheTotalShutDown) protest. They rallied outside Johnnesburg Stock Exchange on 13 September 2019, forcing South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa to cancel a trip to the UN world leaders’ gathering.

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Gouws, Amanda, #EndRapeCulture campaign in South Africa: Resisting sexual violence through protest and the politics of experience, South African Journal of Political Studies, Vol. 45, issue 1, 2018, pp. 3-15

This article analyses the #EndRapeCulture campaign in South Africa, where women students took to the streets in 2016 to protest against the pervasive normalisation of sexual violence on university campuses. Some participated topless and brandished sjamboks (whips) to show their resentment and anger at the prevailing sexual violence. The article looks at the role of digital media in circulating slogans around the campaign and asks the question whether these protests can be compared with SlutWalks or FEMEN.

Mitchell, Claudia ; de Lange, Naydene ; Moletsane, Relebohile, Addressing Sexual Violence in South Africa: ‘Gender activism in the making’, In Oinas; Onodera; Suurpää, What politics? Youth And Political Engagement In South Africa (F.5.ii.2. Overviews of Regional and National Movements), Leiden and Boston, Brill, pp. 317-336

The authors show how university students were able to challenge sexual violence in South Africa in practical and locally relevant ways. They used formal methods of influencing policy, but prioritised the young women’s own views and voices, in ways that they felt empowering. What remains to be further explored, by both researchers and organizations, is how to act as a good ally and supportive collaborator to these kinds of semi-autonomous youth groups navigating formal power.

Mogoatlhe, Lerato ; Letsoalo, Itumeleng, #SandtonShutdown: Hundreds of protesters march in Johannesburg to end gender-based violence, Global Citizen, 13/09/2019,

Although President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Gender-Based Violence Declaration in April 2019, promising that the government would strengthen its fight against gender-based violence (GBV), which he called a national crisis, activists say that little has been done to tackle the issue. This article includes the requests advanced by the movement, links to other national campaigns and data regarding gender-based violence since 2016.

See the report on Gender-Based Violence Declaration here