dance4life South Africa supports One Billion Rising in Cape Town, South Africa

26.02.2013 | Heidi Martin, Programme manager dance4life South Africa

Taking gender based violence and rape seriously was one of the priorities of the ONE BILLION RISING movement in Cape Town on 14 February. dance4life South Africa took to the streets in Cape Town alongside Sonke Gender Justice, the One Billion Rising Cape Town group and other activists to make our voices heard and RISE, demanding an end to violence against women and girls.

South -Africa -One -Billiong -Rising

ONE BILLION RISING is a global call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than One Billion women and girls.

Starting at dawn

The day began at 5:30 am at the bottom of Table Mountain for a dawn rising event with a group of over 75 people, including the Minister of Social Development, Minister of Women and Children and various religious leaders from different denominations. Groups of men from Sonke Gender Justice's "One Man Can" campaign gathered to symbolically begin the day rising and supporting women all over Cape Town and the world standing to end gender based violence. As the sun began rising, dance4life South Africa musicians used the power of the drum to call people together and join as one to stand for the one billion rising event. I facilitated the "Break the chain" dance, the One Billion Rising theme song, to all delegates and media at the event.

Documentary and media crews captured the movement making its way to the top of Table Mountain on the first cable car of the day where dance4life facilitated the break the chain dance to tourists and other participants gathering on the top of the mountain. Sonke Gender Justice raised a 5-meter flag to show support for all the risings happening around Cape Town and dance4life led the musical direction of the event.

Positive energy

Lucinda Van Den Heever, one of the organizers from Sonke Gender Justice commented on the two organizations working together for the Rising:

"It was really great having dance4life on board for this event, the amount of positive energy that it brings is amazing. Having drumming and dancing with so much vibe as part of the events throughout the days made it so much easier to inspire more people to join our activities throughout the day and ultimately raise more awareness."

The movements continued at 11 o'clock on Adderley Street in Cape Town at the Sonke offices where balcony performances of Umuvuga Ngoma Burundi Drummers and dance4life South Africa attracted over 200 people to stop and join in for the rising. dance4life once again facilitated a sidewalk Break the Chain dance with the pedestrians who stopped. Powerful invitations to end violence against women were shared from young men from Sonke.

One -Billion -Rising -South -Africa

At 12:30 the rising moved down to the busy Cape Town train station, where a flash mob of break the chain was facilitated by dance4life and Sonke staff. LeadSA joined in with their protest to stop rape and over 120 people gathered to take part. People were invited to follow the flash mob over to Thibault Square where we would join the One billion Rising Cape Town event complete with dramas, poetry, songs, and performances.

Angelique Van Hest, a friend4life of dance4life from the Netherlands, was visiting dance4life South Africa in Cape Town and joined the team for the rising:

"It was great to be part of this special day. It touched me to see that many people were actively rising to stand for a society where there is safety and respect for everyone. For me that includes men, women, and children from every race, colour and sexual diversity. I love having music and dance being the catalysts of connection and oneness. If we really get UBUNTU*, all violence, including sexual violence, will be gone. Thank you to RedZebra for inviting me."

*UBUNTU: togetherness, unity. Literally: I am because we are.

Break the silence on rape and violence

Women and Men joined in solidarity at 1 pm at Thibault Square holding their signs high and pledging that they will no longer remain quiet around issues of gender based violence. The terrible gang rape and murder of Anene Booysen from Bredasdorp the day before ONE BILLION RISING shook the country once again and illustrated the extent of violence against women in South Africa. Anene was brutally gang raped, disembowelled and her body was dumped behind a shack.

dance4life South Africa is very concerned about the everyday violence that women and girls, as well as boys and men, face in our country. We want communities, religious leaders, ordinary men and women, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to stand up, RISE, and ACT to break the silence on rape and violence.


HeidiHeidi Martin is programme manager at dance4life South Africa. dance4life South Africa is run by the RedZebra Youth Empowerment Foundation in South Africa. You can find more photos of ONE BILLION RISING on the Facebook page of dance4life South Africa.

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