South Africans Urged to Wear Black Armband to Honour Victims of GBVF and Pandemic
South Africans Urged to Wear Black Armband to Honour Victims of GBVF and Pandemic Photo: SANews

Deputy President David Mabuza has called on South Africans to wear a black armband, a ribbon, or any sign that signifies an act of mourning in order to demonstrate solemn respect for those who have passed away due to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and COVID-19.

“We call on all families, communities and organisations to set up memorial corners where flowers, lit candles and any appropriate form of memorialisation is observed to remember and honour those who have lost their lives,” the Deputy President said on Wednesday, during an event to mark the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children Campaign, as well as the start of the five days of remembrance for SA citizens who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.

The South African National Flag was flown at half-mast to symbolize the beginning of the five Days of Remembrance for citizens who have lost their lives through GBVF and COVID-19.

The President has directed that from 25 November until 29 November, the nation should embark on five days of mourning, particularly for the victims of COVID-19 and those who have lost their lives through GBVF.

“During this period, the flag will be flown at half-mast, throughout the country from 6am – 6pm. We will do this not only as a sign of solidarity with all families who lost their loved ones but to demonstrate our resilience and collective determination to overcome COVID-19 and GBVF,” Mabuza said.

The Deputy President called on churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and houses of prayer to hold prayer sessions to support surviving families to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

“Our response to GBVF must be emphatic and uncompromising. It is our commitment as government, civil society formations and all other social partners to work together towards a sustained programme of action to curb GBVF.

“As part of this comprehensive programme, today marks the official commencement of our 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, which is hosted nationwide under the theme: Women’s Economic Justice for a Non-Violent and Non-Sexist South Africa,” the Deputy President said.

He encouraged society to collectively rally behind all national efforts and programmes to empower, protect and promote the advancement and development of women and girl children.

“Women can no longer live in servitude to men that have disregard for their lives and their freedom, therefore we call on all our communities to condemn any acts of GBVF and where such acts manifest themselves they should be reported to the nearest police station,” he said.

Mabuza said the reported rising number of COVID-19 infections remains a major cause for concern.

“We should continue to behave responsibly to save lives and avoid any possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections that may result in further loss of lives,” he said. –