Men meet at scene of Uyinene’s killing to join battle against gender violence

Men gathered on Monday at the Clareinch post office in Cape Town, where student Uyinene Mrwetyana was brutally raped and murdered on August 24, to add their voices to the outrage. Image: Yann Macherez / Momentum Production

The Clareinch post office – where UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana was brutally raped and murdered – has become a site of protest, commemoration, flowers, posters, grief and informal conversation on gender-based violence.

When the post office in Claremont, Cape Town, was shut down last week amid an informal and spontaneous protest by women who travelled into the area for work, the few men who witnessed it said they did not feel comfortable taking part.

For the first time, on Monday morning, it also became the site of an all-male protest on violence against women by men who want to add their voices to the outrage and call on all men to be better role models.

Nine minutes of silence for all men around the country was called for by the Mankind Project, an international community of men representing all walks of life, on Monday September 9 2019 at 9am – hence the campaign being named #99949.

For those living in the area where Uyinene was killed, the site of her murder has become a gathering point.

“We are standing in solidarity with our wives, our mothers, our daughters, our girlfriends, our lovers, our friends, our colleagues, our country in grief, sadness, shame and anger at the current state of our nation,” said Kholekile Dlakiya from the Mankind Project.

“We are standing in solidarity with our wives, our mothers, our daughters, our girlfriends, our lovers, our friends, our colleagues, our country in grief, sadness, shame and anger at the current state of our nation,” said Kholekile Dlakiya from the Mankind Project.

Dan Turner, a resident of nearby Harfield Village, was one of around 100 men outside the post office on Monday morning. He told TimesLIVE: “It was moving, as you might imagine. There was a sense of solidarity and the silence was a powerful thing. The longer you stayed, the more profoundly impactful it became.

“Others from Livingstone High School across the road made a super-long banner changing the words of the anthem to reflect what we want to fight for.”

Aron Halevi, who launched the #99949 campaign four days ago, said: “We are fathers and sons, brothers and husbands, and along with all women, we are role models for our families and our communities.

“We need to take responsibility for the roles we play, whether actively or passively, both by our actions and our inaction.”

The campaign calls for all men in South Africa, regardless of age, race, sexuality or income, “to stand together at this critical moment”.

“We must all do whatever we can to keep our families, our streets, our communities and our country safe from the legacy of violence and abuse that still plagues our society,” said the organisers.

TANYA FARBER
Source: https://www.talkofthetown.co.za/2019/09/09/men-meet-at-scene-of-uyinenes-killing-to-join-battle-against-gender-violence

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