Silent protest to condemn gender-based violence

31 July 2019 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

A week ago, I wrote to the University of Cape Town (UCT) community affirming our commitment to responding to gender-based violence (GBV), which is a societal problem that also affects our institution. As part of the UCT GBV Campaign there will be a silent protest on Friday, 2 August 2019. I invite everyone to join us in the protest to raise awareness of the alarming rates of gender-based violence in our country. This is a call to action for our university to support one another, and to call for an end to sexual violence.

In a symbolic gesture, protesters stay quiet to demonstrate disapproval. Silence is used as a form of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance. The silent protest is intended to publicly demonstrate the silence in our communities and institutions around sexual violence and the silencing effect of rape culture.

The silent protest will begin with registration and the distribution of T-shirts at the Sarah Baartman Hall at 12h00 on upper campus. I will give a short address at 13h00.

The protesters will tape their mouths before they march silently from Sarah Baartman Hall on a short circular route. This will be followed by a symbolic die-in to remember those who have been raped and murdered in acts of gender-based violence. It is intended to visibly embody the names and statistics mentioned so often in news reports and return the humanity to those statistics. Protest participants will lie on the ground – giving the illusion of a massacre – holding placards with the names of people who have lost their lives to GBV.

This will be followed by a shout-out, which will begin with the sounding of a siren. Participants will stand up, remove one another’s tape and shout and scream as loudly as possible. A debriefing session will follow after which Professor Loretta Feris (DVC: Transformation) will close the event.

I encourage you to stand with us in being active participants in the fight to end GBV. Let’s contribute towards creating a culture where all people can feel safe and protected because the violence leaves survivors with long-term psychological and physical effects.

The programme includes:

  • 12h00-12h30: Registration and T-Shirt Distribution at Sarah Baartman Memorial Hall
  • 12h30-13h00: Programme Briefing at Sarah Baartman Memorial Hall by AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • 13h00-13h30: Official opening by Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng
  • 13h30-14h00: "Symbolic Silencing"
  • 14h00-15h00: Silent March and "Die-In"
  • 15h00-16h00: Discussion and Debriefing at Sarah Baartman Memorial Hall
  • 16h00-16h30: Closure by Deputy Vice Chancellor Loretta Feris

Read more about the silent protest.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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