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.
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.
Lucinda Van Den Heever, one of the organizers from Sonke Gender
Justice commented on the two organizations working together for the
"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
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.
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
*UBUNTU: togetherness, unity. Literally: I am because we
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.
Heidi 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