“Protect our women...”
Close to 200 East London men marched to the City Hall on Friday to hand over a memorandum of actions required to end gender-based violence to Buffalo City Mayor Xola Pakati, the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Services.
The march, joined by women, started off as a motorcade from Qumza Highway in Mdantsane and stopped at the North End stadium, where more citizens joined the on-foot march to the City Hall.
Male members of the Economic Freedom Fighters wore red lipstick, doeks and held big size photographs of Leighandre Jegels, shot and killed by her police boyfriend in Wilsonia last month. Most men carried placards written “control your penis’, ‘why rape when you can date’, ‘protect women’, ‘please stop the violence my brothers’.
Litha Siyozo, who led the group of men, addressed marchers, the police and government officials on Oxford Street, on the urgency to amend laws that deal with violence against women and children.
He also hit hard on the men present on their role as fathers.
“What are we teaching our children as fathers? Our sons will not respect women if we do not say enough is enough. Why do we not respect women, their bodies, their needs, their lives? We need to think about these questions so we can come up with solutions,” he lamented.
Men were urged to have the courage to reprimand each other about the manner in which they treat women. “You will not be a sell-out if you reprimand your friends for the manner in which they treat women. Stand up for your sisters, the queens, swim against the tide for women. I beg you.”
The memorandum was compiled with the assistance of women close to these men because they claim, men are the problem, but they are looking for solutions.