With the focus on women in August, loveLife, South Africa’s national youth leadership development organisation, has released a special online edition of its cutting-edge youth magazine, UNCUT, to raise awareness on gender-based violence (GBV). The edition is a collection of powerful stories unearthed through its GBV project with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“Through this project with UNFPA we have brought to light and explored the intricacies of gender inequality in South Africa and have found that solutions to the issue are not standard and require interventions that are tailored and informed by communities themselves,” says UNCUT Editor-in-Chief Angelo C Louw.

In 2013, loveLife and the UNFPA joined forces with the intention of implementing a programme to focus on GBV in communities in the Free State and Eastern Cape. Activities included training of young people in citizen journalism so they could shed light on GBV in their communities by facilitating discussions on their documentaries with community stakeholders and on various media platforms, such as community and national radio stations.

GBV is a serious issue in South Africa, and is still a societal taboo in most parts of the country. Through this project, loveLife aimed to get people to end the status quo under the slogan: ‘SILENCE BREEDS VIOLENCE: IT’S TIME FOR A REMIX.’

“Through the implementation of the awareness, one of the challenges was that the Eastern Cape community was reluctant to be part of this initiative. With the great help of our groundBREAKERs, (peer motivators and community mobilisers who implement loveLife’s healthy sexuality, positive lifestyle and skills development programmes), they shared interesting stories which pointed out the negatives and destroying factors of GBV. By participating with communities, we found that there has been a need to address the issue of GBV but there was never a platform to,” says Project Owner: loveLife-UNFPA Gender-Based Violence Project Precious Magogodi.

“Being a groundBREAKER that focused on GBV through the Media Ys Programme – loveLife’s citizen journalism programme – was an eye-opening experience, the programme became more than just work for me. I had become the voice for my community; their advocate, their hope for change and a role model to many young people. GBV affects us all and the community of Uitenhage, thanks to loveLife, was and still is aware of their rights and refuses to be part of the numbers counted for victims of GBV,” says programme alumnus, Anelisa Matebese.

This Women’s Month, let us stand together and break the silence on GBV. Let South Africa be GBV free.

You can read the GBV edition of UNCUT by clicking on the following link: https://lovelife.org.za/uncut/