South Africa

Awareness, Education, Empowerment Key To Fighting Gender Based Violence: Royal Princesses Speak Out

South African Royal Princesses gathered on 5 February 2022 at Baphiring Game Lodge, Mabalstad, North West for the North West South African Royal Princess Network Gender based Violence awareness program 

10th February 2022 - South African Royal Princesses from various parts of the country gathered on 5 February 2022 at Baphiring Game Lodge in Mabaalstad for the Gender Based Violence (GBV) activation program organised by the North West Province, South African Royal Princesses Network (SARPN).

The coordinator of the program Princess Lerato Mabalane informed that key to fighting GBV is to create awareness, educate on GBV and empowerment as socio economic conditions can lead to women staying in abusive relationships. Women need to be empowered to be independent and take charge of their lives, she said.

The event was historic as it was the first of its kind in the province led by Royal Princesses attended by various stakeholders including Traditional Leadership, Government, Business, NPOs, local communities and International community representatives. German students were part of this event participating in all the planned activities including the hike against GBV.

Princess Nomzabalazo Holomisa Mzwakali, member of the SARPN from the Thembu Kingdom who is also Mrs Africa Universe semi finalist, in her presentation, spoke against abuse of women and toxic masculinity, whilst Dr Avela Mayekiso a member of the SARPN from the Mpondo Kingdom spoke extensively on child abuse. The founder of the SARPN Princess Stella Sigcau II addressed the issue of human trafficking including child trafficking, psychological impact of GBV and the role of Traditional Leadership in the fight against GBV.

In attendance were also Mrs Universe South Africa Finalist, Lebo Hlakola, National House of Traditional Leaders Executive Princess Gaboilelwe Moroka, North West House of Traditional Leaders: Kgosi Mabalane and Kgosikgolo Mamogale, Bahumagadi NW (Queen mothers & Queens association) and GBV organizations namely, Not In My Name and Village Girl Movement.

AmaRharhabe Prince and musician Sizwe Vena spoke at length about the importance of men playing an active role in the fight against GBV. His song "Thetha", which has been adopted as this year's SARPN GBV campaign theme song, encourages people to speak up against GBV and narrates the social ills due to GBV.

GBV activist and opera singer Nomzekelo Jamakazi from the Mpondo Kingdom commended the SARPN for their commitment in the fight against GBV and felt it imperative that Princesses must speak out and play a proactive role in the fight against GBV. Her song, "kubezweni yho" that she performed during the program talked to the sad state of the nation due to GBV and encourages people to play their part in the fight against GBV.

Author, GBV survivor and activist Nomawele Njongo spoke strongly against sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment of women and emphasised that to stop patriarchy it must start from the family unit, for children to be raised as equals. She donated copies of her book, "Abortion by the womb of democracy" which narrates her journey on surviving GBV to Mabalane Traditional Council received by Kgosi Mabalane.

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) provincial youth league President; Prince Shole commended the role the Princesses are playing in the fight against GBV. He encouraged the different stakeholders, including the institution of Traditional Leadership, to support this initiative. Kgosikati Zibi, speaking on behalf of the Queens and Queen mothers, pledged their support to this cause and committed that they will support the Princesses in their programs on GBV as well as provide the necessary guidance. Delivering a message of support was also Nkosi Magodongo Mahlangu from the Ndebele Kingdom.

The event also promoted unity in a diversity of cultures as it was attended by royalty from different parts of South Africa including Zulu, Venda, Tswana, Sotho, Hlubi Mpondo, Xesibe, Thembu Kingdoms to mention a few. Racial and tribal discriminations don't only lead to stereotypes but also to GBV. Reported cases confirm that some women and children are violated because of the colour of their skins, race, religious affiliation or the tribes they belong to. In many war-torn countries women are compromised because of this and others are kidnapped and used as war wives against their will whilst others suffer as a punishment to the warring factions.

The programme commenced with a hike against GBV followed by a formal program which included various presentations on GBV as well as cultural performances and the last leg of the program was the donation of food parcels to the female led families in need. The hike was also attended by the MEC of Social Development in the North West Boutomelo Moiloa.

Kgosi Mabalane of the Baphiring nation who is also the newly elected provincial President of CONTRALESA thanked the Princesses for coordinating such an important and historic event as well as guests who were in attendance.​

by HRH Stella Sigcau