JOHANNESBURG - As the 16 Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children campaign draws to a close, it offers South Africa the opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved in the fight against gender-based violence so far and how the country can better tackle the root causes of the scourge. At Primedia Broadcasting, we are constantly working to turn symbolic gestures into concrete action on GBV - and 2019 has been no exception.

This year, the 16 Days of Activism campaign’s focus shifted away from what women can do to protect themselves, to include what men can do to fight gender-based violence.

Primedia Broadcasting Marketing Manager, Lulu Mthimkhulu, says the focus during the campaign can’t fall on women alone: “We want to drive home the message that without perpetrators, there would be no victims of GBV. As a nation we should address the root causes of GBV by overturning the rape culture and attacks on women and children.”

To this end, Primedia Broadcasting initiative LeadSA has expanded its support to non-government organisations that mentor boys to be good men, and aim to help eradicate the country’s ‘rape culture’. The initiative is advocating for more specialised courts to be created to ensure women have a safe space to demand justice, and accelerate the rate of convictions.

“Our commitment towards this cause is ongoing throughout the year,” says Mthimkhulu. “We are partnering with various NGO’s, launching self-defence workshops and taking every opportunity we get to push messaging in the fight against GBV. We are fortunate to have a partnership between LeadSA and Primedia Broadcasting’s 4 radio stations (947, 702, Cape Talk and KFM) to help us spread campaign messages.”

Keeping women safe

LeadSA is also partnering with non-profit organisation Stay Safe to offer self-defence classes to women in Gauteng and Cape Town. Mthimkhulu says both organisations aim to help create awareness among women about what they can do to defend themselves in dangerous situations: “While working at eradicating GBV, we nevertheless want women to feel safe. That’s why we have launched self-defence classes [in tandem with our other projects].”

The workshop is conducted by Sanette Smit, author of The South African Woman’s Guide to Self Defence, and a respected karate and self-defence practitioner with 40 years of experience.

How fathers can raise better men

During the 16 Days of Activism, Primedia Broadcasting’s Life podcasting network also launched a popular new podcast series, Son of a Son. The series takes a closer look at the role of fathers in raising better men, and how fatherhood can change men for the better.

Each thought-provoking episode features a well-known personality, examining how fathers are dealing with evolving gender roles and helping to raise kinder, better men (as well as strong, independent women). The eight-part podcast series is hosted by father of four, Kgabo Legora. Guests include musician J’Something, 702 Breakfast Show presenter Bongani Bingwa, and comedian Mpho Pops.

“It’s been inspiring to see projects like the Son of a Son podcast produced by the Life podcast under our mother brand Primedia Broadcasting. The conversations that are happening there is what we have been advocating and pushing for in this process of addressing GBV.” Says Mthimkhulu.

“Another important highlight for us this year was partnering with 702’s Joanne Joseph in a panel discussion unpacking the theme ‘Addressing the root cause of abuse’ with experts. The event brought to light many elements that contribute to GBV and also reflected on what can be done to solve these issues.”

To listen to the Son of a Son podcast, click here - or sign up for the next self-defence class being presented in your region.