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:

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:

#TheTotalShutdown in pictures

Photo: Christi (Chris) de Beer

#TheTotalShutdown in pictures

Photo: Christi (Chris) de Beer

#TheTotalShutdown in pictures

Photo: Christi (Chris) de Beer

#TheTotalShutdown in pictures

Photo: Christi (Chris) de Beer

 

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

Awareness about heartbreaking stories that never made it to the news

Pertinent questions…

… and poignant images

Even in anonymity, women support each other

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.