1 December 2022
The MEC for Health for the Eastern Cape is expected to join thousands of people at a gathering on December 10 at OR Tambo House for the unveiling of the first GBV (gender-based violence) memorial wall in the Eastern Cape.
The wall is being built right next door to the City Municipality building, Myezo Park in Mthatha district in the Eastern Cape, in memory of the victims in the ongoing epidemic of violence against women and children in South Africa.
TB HIV Care, in partnership with the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, will unveil the memorial wall as part of the annual campaign, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. Women and children in attendance will share stories of loved ones who have died at the hands of abusers, as well as some of their own experiences of the violence they live with in their communities.
TB HIV Care is intensifying advocacy and awareness at community level in a bid to bring communities together to fight gender-based violence. The memorial wall aims to serve as a visible, permanent reminder of the fallen victims, but also a place for communities to meet and to rally in their fight against GBV.
The South African Government has urged communities to “challenge cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and consequent abuse of women and children at personal and societal level”.
According to Statistics South Africa’s ‘Crimes against Women, 2021’ report, more than one in five women in the country (21%) have experienced physical violence from a partner. It is well documented that adolescent girls and young women in South Africa are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence and also, therefore, to HIV infection. The Human Sciences Research Council Household Prevalence Survey 2019 showed that HIV prevalence among women aged 20 to 24 was three times higher, at 15.6 percent, than men of the same age (4.8 percent).
The UNAIDS (2020) report on the global AIDS epidemic also shows how women in sub-Saharan Africa continue to carry a higher burden than men, accounting for 59% of all new HIV infections in the region in 2019. The burden is even higher for young women, who accounted for 24% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 despite making up only 10% of the population.
Things are not improving for this cohort, with a total of 4,500 adolescent girls and young women (between 15 and 24 years old) in the region infected with HIV every week. Women’s vulnerability to HIV and Aids is multifaceted and shaped by a range of factors including GBV. It is increased by economic insecurity, which often limits a woman’s ability to leave an abusive situation or even to negotiate condom use. TB HIV Care said the province’s support for the building of the wall and the choice of location alongside the OR Tambo House in Mthatha showed the commitment from the MEC and the Eastern Cape Department of Health to ending violence against women and children.
The memorial wall is intended to keep the need to address GBV top of mind. It will also serve to heighten the vigilance of leaders watching over the many vulnerable people living our communities.
It is hoped that it will also serve as a gathering and rallying point for communities to meet and support each other, as well as to educate young people.
TB HIV Care believes that communities can, through a multisectoral approach that “leaves no one behind”, end gender-based violence.
The MEC for Health for the Eastern Cape and other national and provincial dignitaries and members of the media are expected to join members of the local community at an event to launch the memorial wall:
DATE: 10 December 2022
VENUE: OR Tambo House, Nelson Mandela Drive, Myezo Park, Mthatha
For media interviews contact:
Michelle Carey, TB HIV Care, Deputy Communications Manager