ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL DUT SILENT PROTEST
Written by: Nokuthula Mabuza
The Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Southern Africa, which is an all gender non-organisation that provides support for people with HIV, held a Silent Protest march in support of rape and sexual violence victims.
The Silent Protest, which happened for the second time in three years in Durban, was hosted at Durban University of Technology (DUT). Upon arrival people were given tapes and asked to cover their mouths. Protesters gathered inside the institution’s Fred Crookes Sport Centre before starting their morning march from Steve Biko campus all the way around Mansfield road.
Lariffa Kalzinga, who works at AFH, said that there were thousands of rape cases reported in South Africa alone and it is time to stop the perpetrators.
“Our role is to try (having) conversations with members of the public and legislatures so that we can stop HIV and stop violence. We pledge everyone to come forward and share their stories and break the silence to stop the abuse,” said Kalzinga.
“This event is not about the crowd but about the people who are here; it takes a small crowd to change the world. I hope today’s attendees will spread the word to their classmates, colleagues to join the DUT Gender Forum and maybe next year we will have more people,” she concluded.
The protest also provided a platform for people to break the silence and share their stories or bad experiences that they have encountered in their lives.
Gugu Nxumalo, a second year student in Child and Youth Development who is also a rape survivor, said that people should remember they are the victims not abusers.
“The first step to heal can be writing a letter to yourself and tell yourself it is not the end of the world or your fault. Then talk to someone you trust, they will support you and make sure you get help,” she added.
Mouth tapes were removed around midday as the crowd chanted “Stop the war on women’s bodies”. Some students said they were happy to participate.
“A lot of people go through a lot of things and keep quite about it because they are afraid and they feel like it’s their fault when bad things like rape and violence happen to them,” said Nonkululeko Mkhize. “Today we say we are here for them and we believe them.”
The protest continued well after midday as participants were ordered to die-in lying on the floor and pretend to be dead, demonstrating the feeling of silent victims.
Participants were also encouraged to take pictures and post them on social networks to make the protest get what Kalzinga described as “press attention”.