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Project Updates

Change the Story: Refugees and Migrants Speak Against GBV

Hitting the airwaves just in time for 16 Days of Activism, Change the Story: Refugees and Migrants Speak Against GBV is a 3-part series of short radio dramas highlighting factors that make refugees and migrant communities vulnerable to sexual violence as well as challenges for accessing care and treatment services. While all women and girls face challenges reporting any kind of violence, refugees and migrants face added barriers of language, lack of knowledge of local systems and rights, not knowing where to go, few support systems, and at times xenophobic responses.

» Download the press release for more information

The Detention Justice Forum Website Goes Live

The Detention Justice Forum is a civil society coalition to advance the rights and well-being of detainees in South Africa. The Forum is co-founded and co-coordinated by Sonke, Wits Justice Project, and Just Detention International. Learn more about the Detention Justice Forum at the newly launched website, www.detentionjusticeforum.org.za.

Detention Justice Forum hosted a panel on preventing torture at the ISS Conference on criminal justice

The Detention Justice Forum, which Sonke co-coordinates, hosted a panel on “Preventing Torture and Abuse through Oversight” at the 4th Annual ISS Conference on Criminal Justice on the 21st August 2013. As emphasized by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Prevention of Torture, the most effective mechanism to prevent torture and ill-treatment is through the regular inspection of places of detention. Drawing from South African perspectives, the panel examined the current landscape of detention oversight, identified gaps, and considered the needs of specific vulnerable groups.

Click the title to read more and download the presentations.


Submission to the Civilian Secretariat for Police on the Green Paper on Policing

A group of gender, women’s rights and children’s rights civil society organisations working in the area of gender based violence took the decision to make this submission in response to the Civilian Secretariat of Police’s  Green Paper on Policing. This decision was made in light of the fact that part of the poor implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 (‘the DVA’) which impedes survivor’s of domestic violence ability to benefit from the DVA is linked to problems with policing. This submission contains comments and recommendations applicable to domestic violence and policing.

» Download the document

Short Human Rights course - “The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality”

Sonke Gender Justice, the Gender Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for the Study of AIDS, University of Pretoria are offering the “The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality” short human rights course to increase the capacity of organisations and individuals – women and men - to lead gender justice programmes that engage men and boys as partners and agents of change within a feminist framework.

Course date: 28 October - 1 November 2013.

Venue: Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria Main Campus.

Download the application form (Application deadline: 23 September 2013)

Download the course overview

For more information visit chr.up.ac.za.

Systemic reforms to address sexual abuse of inmates successfully adopted!

Sexual violence and HIV are interlinked and common phenomena in South Africa’s prisons. It is a conservative estimate that 26.7% inmates are HIV positive, well above the national average of 10%. Rape in prison is a common experience - half of all inmates surveyed by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services confirmed that sexual abuse happens regularly. The National Strategic Plan for HIV, STIs and TB highlights inmates as a “key population” and calls on the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to implement laws and policies to prevent and respond to sexual offences in prisons as a means to stem the spread of HIV behind bars. DCS took a critical leap forward in its effort to address sexual abuse and HIV with its recent adoption of the Policy Framework to Address Sexual Abuse of Inmates in DCS Facilities.


New Report: Evaluation of South Africa’s Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services

Sonke is happy to announce the completion of a new publication: Evaluation of South Africa’s Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services: Assessing its independence, effectiveness and community engagement. The report is part of our ongoing advocacy for a stronger, independent Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS).

The report provides an overview of JICS’ history, mandate, and systems, analysing the strengths and weaknesses in its current structure, in light of its potential role as part of the National Preventative Mechanism once the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture is ratified. The authors argue that JICS is a vital institution that sheds light on a correctional system that is largely opaque to the outside community, and if strengthened, can increase the Department of Correctional Services’ accountability to its mandate to promote and protect inmates’ rights.

The report goes on to compare JICS to similar watchdog bodies in South Africa and elsewhere, arguing for increased independence and enhanced powers of investigation. Noting that one of JICS’ strengths is its ability to bridge the divide between correctional centres and the community, the authors highlight avenues for civil society organisations to engage with the institution, as important stakeholders in resolving inmate complaints, and as advocates for a stronger correctional service oversight body.

» Download the report 

Sonke Endorses WGPD Submission on Corporal Punishment in the Home

The National Department of Social Development in South Africa has been receiving submissions on a discussion paper about the issue of corporal punishment in the home. The paper included several differing opinions ranging from support for the complete banning of corporal punishment, to the argument that corporal punishment can be accepted if it is applied at the right age, and 'with love and concern'.

The Working Group on Positive Discipline made a very useful and broad submission which Sonke endorsed. In addition, Sonke developed an extra submission that highlights various issues related to corporal punishment especially from the perspective of MenCare. It reflected among a few other points that men who use violence are likely to have witnessed violence as children.

In accordance with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child’s position, as set out in the discussion document (p2), Sonke equates corporal punishment with violence. In the International Men and Gender Equality Survey, a key finding was that men who use violence had likely witnessed violence as children. In other words, using corporal punishment in the home teaches children that violence is a legitimate way to solve problems. When boys witness this violence, they are more likely to use violence as men later in life.

View the discussion document, the WGPD submission and Sonke's endorsement.

SANAC and Brothers for Life Dialogue on Prevention of GBV Attended by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

Bafana Khumalo speaks at the Brothers for Life Dialogue

The SANAC men’s sector is preparing a programme to mobilise a million men in South Africa to be actively involved in programmes aimed at stopping the spread of gender based violence, following the men’s dialogue in which 200 men participated, convened by Deputy President Motlanthe to address the spread of gender based violence in South Africa. The dialogue was attended by a cross section of men including the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane and Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

» Declaration by the Men of South Africa on the elimination of violence against women and children

» Government, Civil Society in Joint Effort to Fight Rape

» Home must be a safe place

» Motlanthe Urges Better Family LIfe


Sonke Submits Comments on the Commission on Gender Equality Amendment Bill

As part of its work within the Commission for Gender Equality Monitor, Sonke has joined a collective of civil society organisations to submit comments to the National Assembly on the Commission on Gender Equality Amendment Bill.

» Download the Submission on the CGE Act Amendment Bill

» Download the CGE Monitor Concept Note

» Download the Commission for Gender Equality Act of 1996

» Download the Commission for Gender Equality Act Amendment Bill of 2012

Brothers 4 Life Supports MMC and Fatherhood Event in Zola Emndeni

Brown Bottle Entertainment (BBE) embarked on a massive door-to-door campaign targeting the Zola Emndeni area on 1 April 2013. This activity was supported by Brothers For Life, with more than 60 men participating. The men gathered at Zola Clinic at 10am then moved around the community to promote Male Medical Circumcision and the Fatherhood dialogue, which is scheduled for 6 April 2013.

Sonke Delivers a Report on Government Action taken to involve Men and Boys to Prevent VAWG at the UN CSW

In March 2013, Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) presented a report at the 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (the CSW) on progress made by the South African government against national and global commitments it has made to educate and engage men and boys to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) during the period 2010 to 2012. The priority theme of the 57th session was the ‘elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’.


Sonke Joins Call for Action at the 57th CSW by the International Campaign to Stop Rape in Conflict

Sonke has joined the call for action at the 57th CSW by the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict, of which Sonke is a member. Sonke and the campaign call for progressive agreed conclusions and express “alarm that a number of states are using the Commission to reverse hard‐won progress the global community has made in the past couple of decades to eliminate violence against women.”

» Sonke ED Dean Peacock at the UN: One Million Men, One Million Promises

» Download the press release

Sonke's Participation at 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, NYC March 4-14th

Each year the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meets at UN headquarters in New York to review progress against commitments made in international agreements and national law to advance women’s rights. This year the 57th CSW focuses on the prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Sonke Gender Justice will participate at the CSW in a number of different roles.


Update on Sonke's Complaint against Pastor 'Mboro' in 2011

Pastor Paseka Motsoeneg – also known as Pastor ‘Mboro’ - arrested by SAPS for alleged sexual assault of women and girls. The South African Human Rights Commission is following up on complaint against Pastor Mboro submitted by Sonke Gender Justice and People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) in June 2011.


Sonke and MenEngage Launch Africa Policy Report Series

Sonke's International Programmes and Network Unit, on behalf of MenEngage Africa, have launched a set of national policy reports across the Africa region examining policies, laws and plans in the areas of HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, parenting and LGBTI issues.

The first two reports - on Zambia and Uganda - were released this week. Check them out here.

First National Bank Supports Sonke's Work in Prisons

Under the banner and guidance of Sonke Gender Justice, the FNB Fund has supported the Prisons project in the Western Cape for over two years. Correctional officers are trained as peer educators to act as leaders within the prison community, providing support, education and an example of healthy living to their counterparts.

» Read the full article

Sonke Calls on Men to Join One Billion Rising Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls

On February 14, Sonke took part in the ONE BILLION RISING, the largest day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Sonke Gender Justice and partners hosted events around the Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg and in Table Mountain and Cape Town CBD. The Cape Town morning event was attended by the Honourable Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and the Honourable Minister of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulama Xingwana.

» Read the keynote speech by the DSD Minister Ms Bathabile Dlamini


Sonke's Mbuyiselo Botha on Radio 702

Sonke's Mbuyiselo Botha speaks on Radio 702 about our Sonke's “Ring the Bell” campaign, curbing violence against women. Mbuyiselo speaks about the campaign to raise awareness against violence towards women and to get men to be involved in the campaign.

» Listen to the interview (45.57 MB)

Commission for Gender Equality Monitor Facebook Page

The Women's Legal Centre, who jointly leads the CGE Monitor Campaign with Sonke, has created a CGE Monitor Facebook page. Liking the group will allow you to be kept up to date on CGE Monitor activities, which track and report on the activities of the Commission for Gender Equality to ensure that it fulfils its legal duties to advance gender equality in South Africa.

» Visit the CGE Monitor Campaign Facebook Page to like it.

Public weigh in on the Commission for Gender Equality

Today over forty people gathered in Cape Town for the launch of the preliminary report on the 100 Days Monitor of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).  The report was published by the CGE Monitor, a collective of organisations concerned with the effectiveness of the CGE. The CGE Monitor seeks to support the CGE and, by monitoring its performance, hold it accountable to its mandate.


One Man Can Provide Care: Small steps to success

A success story from the MenCare programme. 

Although many of the activities that will ultimately make up the MenCare programme are still in their infancy, one story from the MenCare Southern Africa programme has stood out for us as an inspiring example of what the programme can achieve.


World AIDS Day and 16 Days of Activism at Malmesbury Prison

Written by Hanna Jansson

Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) was invited to attend the Malmesbury prison World AIDS Day event on 27 November 2012. Sonke was represented by Sikhangele Mabulu, Wessel van den Berg, Mzamo Sidelo and Hanna Jansson.


UNFPA and Sonke partner on 19 country meeting on gender transformation in JHB Oct, 2012

Dear colleagues,

We are very happy to report that we had successful meetings in Johannesburg October 1-5, 2012 on "Gender transformative norms" and  "UNAIDS Agenda for accelerated action on HIV for Women and Girls". 


Sonke, JDI and Wits Justice Project call for a more independent Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services

On 30 October, Sonke, JDI and Wits Justice Project made a submission to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services, urging for a strengthened and more independent Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services.


Invitation to Celebrate 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, 10 December

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) invites you to celebrate Human Rights Day and mark the closure of the campaign "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence" and pay tribute to Edith Ballantyne.

icon Download the invitation

Learners and Inmates Engage in Debate

On Tuesday the 30th October, Sonke's Cape Town prisons team organised an event at Goodwood Correctional Centre that brought together school learners and inmates to discuss issues facing the youth and HIV.


New Sonke-Promundo report on IMAGES report on men, masculinities and GBV in Eastern DRC reveals alarming attitudes about rape amongst many men

In June 2012, Sonke Gender Justice, Promundo-US and the Institute for Mental Health of Goma implemented the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) in Goma, North Kivu, DRC.


Sonke's gains support for MMC from SADTU Provincial General Council

The Provincial General Council (PGC) is one of the most important structures of the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) at the provincial level. The PGC sits between the SADTU congresses and its structure is able to make decisions on policy issues including supporting the province's MMC roll-out.


Sonke and Just Detention International Report to the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services

Sonke has submitted a report with Just Detention International to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services regarding the Department of Correctional Services 2011/2012 Annual Report. This is a precursor to an oral submission on 10 October. The summary is below and the report is available for download.


Gallery: Nyanga Soccer Tournament Festival for Unite As One Campaign

Sonke Gender Justice together with Scalabrini Centre, MSAT, City of Cape Town and SAFA Nyanga LFA under the Unite As One Campaign hosted a 4-day Soccer Tournament Festival in Nyanga during the week of 25 to 28 September 2012 in celebration of Heritage Day.


Schools Battle Teen Pregnancies

Published in The New Age
3 Sept 2012
by Francis Hweshe

Activist group Sonke Gender Justice has lashed out at “sugar daddies” amid attempts by a city school to contain learner pregnancies due to irresponsible sexual behaviour.

Principal at Maitland Seconday School Riedwaan Kenny said seven girls in his school have fallen pregnant since the beginning of the year and a local clinic also raised concerns about a large number of learners from the school who approach them seeking to terminate their pregnancies.


MenEngage Africa youth tell their stories

Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, South Africa, Rwanda... these are the home countries of the ten participants from the MenEngage Africa network who took part in the recent Digital Stories workshop in August 2012.  Young Africans working on issues related to gender-based violence were selected to craft a personal story about gender-based violence using images, footage and a recorded narrative. 


Fatherhood groups poised to kick off

The MenCare campaign, launched on 8 August 2011 in Soweto, has just celebrated its first South African birthday. The first year focused on two dimensions: shifting social norms through media such as radio and print, and establishing relationships with policymakers for advocacy and lobbying. The new year was entered by adding the third dimension of community mobilisation to the policy and media work.


Shad K: “Keep Shining” – a voice from the margins

Rap and hip-hop music is frequently criticized for its misogynist treatment of women. Many popular songs in this music genre reveal aggressive and sometimes violent attitudes towards women, with women being depicted solely as sexual objects, commonly called derogatory names such “bitches” and “hoes,” and in extreme cases, deserving forms of violence for disobeying. Along with such explicit lyrics, are regular images of scantily dressed women in the music videos, usually surrounding one or two men, where they are often portrayed in highly objectifying and demeaning ways.


Sonke and Just Detention International launch training guide on sexual violence in prisons

On August 22, 2012, about fifty people – activists, researchers, Department of Correctional Services and Judicial Inspectorate of Correctional Services officials – gathered to celebrate the launch of a new training guide written in partnership by Sonke and Just Detention International (JDI). 


Malmesbury Inmates Graduate as Peer Educators

A gorgeously warm and sunny day in the middle of Cape Town’s grey and rainy winter signaled an important day for over 40 inmates at Malmesbury Medium A prison.  These inmates were soon-to-be graduates from Sonke’s prisons Peer Educator training programme.


Youth Lekgotla – Sonke Gender Justice - 27 June 2012

During June each year, youth month, the youth of yesteryear is often lauded for its efforts, while the youth of today are criticized for lacking the will and drive to change their situation, circumstances and communities. The obstacles faced by the youth of today relate to teenage pregnancy, HIV, and inadequate sex and reproductive health (SRH) services.


Rape is Rape no matter who the victim is

by David Friedman and Rachel Fleder

Protestors met outside the Wynberg Magistrate Courthouse on the 7th June, 2012 where the case of Ntsiki Tyatyeka, of Nyanga, was convened. Tyatyeka, who openly identified as a lesbian, disappeared on 6 September, 2010 and was last seen walking into the home of a neighbour. To the horror of her friends and family, Tyatyeka’s remains were later found in a dust bin at the neighbour’s residence. The police took the owner of the home into custody and charged him with the murder of Tyatyeka, though he denied having any knowledge of her whereabouts.


Ubuntu has no boundaries: World Refugee Day Conference, 20 June 2012

by Rachel Fleder and David Friedman

During the opening address of the World Refugee Day conference, hosted in Seapoint, Cape Town on 20 June 2012, the regional representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees  set the tone by stating that anyone may become a refugee. He asked the audience to reflect on what they would do if they were one day forced to leave their homes and seek asylum in another country. He concluded his welcoming address by calling on the government to strengthen its commitment to the 1951 and 1969 conventions on refugee rights, which reinforced the protections afforded by the Constitution for asylum seekers in South Africa.


More Articles...

  1. Celebrating Youth Month at Goodwood Correctional Facility
  2. Happy Father's Day
  3. Dramatic events at the NCOP meeting in Parliament on 30th May
  4. Ground Up Reporters on the Mess that is The Maitland Refugee Reception Centre
  5. Joint Submission to Porfolio Committe on Sexual Offences Amendment Act
  6. Sonke Men Pay Homage to the Mothers of South Africa
  7. Sonke Documentary to feature in Encounters Film Fest!
  8. Sonke's verbal submission at Western Cape TCB hearing
  9. Prisons Sexual Violence HIV Framework
  10. Mapping the Legal Framework to Prevent Sexual Violence & HIV in South Africa’s Correctional Facilities
  11. SA Men: A History of Violence
  12. Sonke Staff at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, Feb 2012
  13. Patrick Godana attends Conference with Faith Leaders
  14. Brothers for Life Mobilises Men for Medical Circumcision
  15. Sonke Comments on Budget Speech
  16. "Where's Dumisani?" - Speaking the Language of the Youth
  17. Uproar over Zulu King’s lashing out at Congolese protesters
  18. Destination>>>Circumcision: Sonke's MMC Taxi
  19. Launch of Gugulethu Men's Wellness Centre
  20. Getting into Gear in Gugs
  21. A Conversation on LGBTI Rights
  22. Zille: Stigmatizing pregnant girls is not the solution
  23. Seasons Greetings
  24. My Dad Can Entry from Port Elizabeth
  25. One Man Can: A Poem
  26. MMC Taxis take to the streets
  27. Breaking the Silence - Sonke speaks to Government
  28. RFSU: Great ideas and great resources
  29. World Aids Day Gallery
  30. 16 Days of Activism Gallery
  31. World AIDS Day at Gugs Mall
  32. 100 Men Commit to Ending Gender-based Violence
  33. 16 Days at Pollsmoor Prisons: November 29
  34. RHR Workshop at ARESTA Athlone – The Languages of Refugees in South Africa
  35. Global launch of the MenCare campaign
  36. Entries Flood in for My Dad Can
  37. Media advocacy training with Masisikumeni
  38. Addressing Xenophobia in Local Business: Nyanga and Khayelitsha
  39. Policing of GBV - Migrant Communities' Experiences
  40. Bushbuckridge: A new OMC project and study
  41. Sonke welcomes Julius Malema's apology but notes with concern that it has taken 15 months for him to comply
  42. Update on Malema Case
  43. MenEngage Policy Conference
  44. Judgement pending in the hate-speech case against Julius Malema
  45. Khayelitsha Red Card Activation
  46. Malema Protest 31 Aug 09
  47. Sonke Challenges Manto Tshabala-Msimang's Comments at CSW
  48. Community protests alleged child molester release on bail
  49. The Rio Declaration: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys on Achieving Gender Equality
  50. Contribution to Open Democracy Blog by Dean Peacock, Sonke Gender Justice, South Africa
  51. Staff Experiences of Xenophobic Violence
  52. Soccer for Reintegration, 2008
  53. Street soccer, a strategy for social, 2008 unity
  54. Invitation: PhotoVoice exhibition
  55. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Zithulele
  56. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Kelly
  57. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Nobesethu
  58. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Robyn
  59. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Stubbs
  60. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Thami
  61. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Dudu
  62. Staff Writing on Xenophobia: Dean
  63. Anti-xenophobia solidarity march
  64. WHO says World Must Step up Violence Prevention
  65. South Africa Country Report to the UN CSW, 2007
  66. Understanding Men's Perceptions of their own and Government's Responses to Violence Against Women
  67. Sonke Survey of Men's Perceptions of Gender Violence
  68. Research into the Impact of PEPFAR Funding


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