Yesterday, 1 August, women across South Africa (as well as Namibia and Lesotho) took part in the first ever national #TotalShutdown, ushering in Women’s Month in the most powerful way since the 1956 Women’s March. Hundreds of women and gender-non-conforming individuals of all ages and cultural groups – a lot of whom are from various organisations and activist movements – protested against the gross gender-based violence that affects all women in our country in one way or another.
Late last night, organisers of #TheTotalShutdown submitted a list of 24 demands to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who eventually made an appearance at the Union Buildings in the evening, saying, ‘We are going to work very hard to make gender-based violence disappear on South African soil.’
Watch eNCA’s full report below:
President Cyril Ramaphosa says there’s a renewed push to eradicate gender base violence. Organisers of the #TotalShutdown campaign handed over a list of 24 demands to the president, late last night. @LirandzuThemba was there and filed this report…
— eNCA (@eNCA) August 2, 2018
In case you missed it, this is what the #TotalShutdown attendees who braved yesterday’s cold had to say about the war on women’s and queer bodies:
It was not only streets in all nine provinces of our country that felt the wrath of women – the virtual streets of Twitter were also hot with fury from social-media users who have had enough.
Admiration from those who couldn’t physically participate
— Sithembile Mbete (@sthembete) August 1, 2018
Awareness about heartbreaking stories that never made it to the news
Nomahlubi came to #TotalShutDown with her 4-months baby, because the father decided to call her a bitch infront of the baby. “If he’s going to start so young introducing her to abuse, I might as well start so young introducing her to protecting herself #TotalShudown #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/HgtnepMAae
— Mamaponya Motsai (@mamaponyamotsai) August 1, 2018
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) August 1, 2018
— IOL News (@IOL) August 1, 2018
So vele the women’s league of our beautiful, major political party decided to have its own march like marching for women’s rights was a competition? Same day with #TotalShutDown? Another missed opportunity to stand with women you ‘lead’. Petty.
— MADIKIZELA✊🏾🖤 (@ramichuene) August 1, 2018
We have a whole ministry of Women and Children in SA. What have they done about the on going femicide and gender based violence? All we hear is “we condemn…” #TotalShutdown
— zama mochocho (@zamamochocho) August 1, 2018
… and poignant images
— Koleka Putuma (@KPutuma) August 1, 2018
— Babes WePetition (@Neli_Ngqulana) August 1, 2018
— raeesa pather (@raediology) August 1, 2018
Even in anonymity, women support each other
I dedicate #TotalShutDown to my neighbour.
I hear your cries and I hear your child scream.
If you wonder how the police show up, its me.
There’s little I can do for you besides call the police.
— T’challa’s Widow🧕🏾🇿🇲🇲🇼🇿🇼🇿🇦 (@BlaqHijabi) August 1, 2018
Hopefully this is the beginning of change for South African women, queer people and gender-non-conforming people who continue to be failed by the justice system daily. Hopefully.