Western Cape Traditional Leaders Join “Culture of Respect” Campaign
As the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence draws to a close, Western Cape traditional leaders signed a pledge to show their support for the “Culture of Respect” Campaign started by Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Nomafrench Mbombo. The traditional leaders attended a meeting at Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha on 9 December 2014 with Dr Mbombo and Minister of Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela to discuss the role they can play in supporting the protection of vulnerable people.
The question on everyone’s lips was “what led South Africa to a point where abuse against women, children and other vulnerable people is a daily occurrence?”
Amahlubi Chief Jongisizwe Sibenya said, in the past, women in South Africa could travel from village to village at any time of the day or night without worry. “Where did we go wrong that we see horrendous acts of abuse against women and children on a daily basis? It is because we have forsaken our culture and heritage,” he said.
Initiation Forum Chairperson Thembelani Mtotywa said through traditional initiation rites of passage, the behaviour of young men was being shaped, and they were taught to respect all members of society. However, there were challenges, he said. Some caregivers were teaching initiates about prison instead of their culture. “You find that the parent sends a child who doesn’t drink or smoke, but when he comes back, he is a drinker and a smoker,” Mtotywa said.
“One of the biggest challenges of the 16 Days Campaign is the lack of continuity”, said Dr Mbombo. “The (provincial) government is therefore recruiting ambassadors who are leaders and role models to continue this fight against the abuse of women, children and other vulnerable people far beyond the 16 Days Campaign period. I have implored our traditional leaders to uphold the teachings of our culture. In our culture, women are respected. In our culture, children are protected. In our culture, mutual respect is upheld. We no longer can have horrendous acts of abuse against our women and children justified in the name of culture.”
All the people of the Western Cape are encouraged to join in efforts to create a culture of respect, and to take a stand against the abuse of the most vulnerable people in our society.