Johannesburg’s Student Council held their monthly council meeting on Saturday 7 September 2019 at the Roodepoort Chambers.
Councillors were dressed in black in solidarity with recent marches and protests highlighting the rampant abuse of women and children and recent but not unusual spate of femicide.
Unlike previous meetings that focused largely on City issues this meeting was dominated by the recent disturbing and horrific acts of violence and rape against women and children including killing and kidnapping.
Student councillors expressed their opinions, fears and anxiety and the growing concern for their own daily safety. Female student councillors were quite vocal about the dangers they suddenly faced on their way to school, shopping, in the school transport and even at home from family members. These thoughts were re-iterated through a powerful and emotive monologue on rape, delivered by two of the councillors.
The Speaker of Council, Councillor Vasco da Gama, present at the meeting, encouraged councillors to establish forums in their schools where these issues can be discussed openly to encourage a “heightened awareness of the plight of our women - mothers, daughters, sisters and children”.
It became quite clear that this frightening problem of women abuse needed a solution by both men and women. It also had to start with men condemning and reproaching other men who disrespected women.