Unpacking sexual gender based violence dialogue

By Nondumiso Ngcongo

 

 

 

 

 

DUT STAFF AT THE UNIZULU SGBV DIALOGUE

 

The department of Higher Education in partnership with HEAIDS held its first ever Sexual Gender Based Violence dialogue.  It took place at the University of Zululand on Friday the 24th of February 2017. The KZN Universities were all present together with eight TVET colleges. This event was held in response to rising levels of gender-based violence in and around higher education institutions. A protest of the same event had occurred at Rhodes University, where the students appealed to University management to do more to protect the rights of those who had experienced sexual violence within the institution.

After the protest, more students at other institutions revealed that they had the same problem and such cases were ignored, as there are no policies in place for such cases. It was revealed that in some instances, the perpetrators were the academic/admin staff and this made it even harder for students to report. There is often fear of more victimization. In understanding these challenges, the aim of the dialogue was to find amicable solutions that could help in drawing the policy framework.

The statistics given at the dialogue suggested that 62% of students do not feel safe in all institutions of higher learning, including TVET college students. Disturbingly, only 10% of cases that get to be reported. One of the contributing factors that has been identified is substance and alcohol abuse. Some offenders commit these offences unknowingly due to the fact that they were under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

Rigid gender norms were also revealed as a major challenge for both men and women.  Female students spoke out about being abused based on the type of clothes they are wearing.  The female students spoke about how when they are wearing revealing clothing items men pass harsh remarks. “It is very harsh especially at our University, females are not comfortable when wearing short clothes”, said the University of Zululand Vice Chancellor Prof. Xoliswa Mtose.  A UKZN male student raised a significant point of being educated about gender violence.  “When does it become an abusive act or attempt?” He was referring to the fact that young men are often aware of the potential violence in their actions. He went on further to say as much as there are deliberations of drawing up policies, there also should be deliberations of how we can teach the society about the forms of abuse.

Free Education, Is It Possible?

Written By Nosipho Gumbi

 

 

 

 

 

According to the bill of rights of South Africa’s constitution, all South Africans have the right to basic education, including adult basic education and access to further education. The state has an obligation to progressively make this education available and accessible.

In the past few weeks, students across the country have voiced their concern and anger over fee increment for 2017. Dr Nzimande, the minister of higher education, announced that fees would increase by 8% in 2017. Which is the reason that prompted the #feesmustfall campaign, which later turned to a protest for free education. Students went as far as burning and vandalizing the institutions.

Here are views of some students in relation to free education:

Thobile Dladla HR 2ND year student

In the long run, yes but I don’t think it’s something that can happen overnight. It needs to be thought out thoroughly and well budgeted for.

Zandile Mhlongo PR 2ND year student

If South Africa can invest so much in sports why can’t it do the same for education?

 

In my opinion, free education is possible in South Africa. The government should invest in education. The notion that South Africa cannot afford free education for its children is rather. It can’t be that we are such a poor country that we can’t afford education for our children. South Africa should by now nationalised all the mines and put them under the democratic control of the working people of this country, so that they can be used to ensure that education is accessible.

Does Sexual Orientation Define Us In Society

Written By Nondumiso Ngcongo

                                                                                                 

 

Chiedza Mhende who plays the character of Wandile Hadebe on Generations, The legacy

The LGBTI community is one community that feels segregation from human nature around the whole world especially in our beloved African continent. In trying not to segregate this community, it came to my attention how diverse they are but they treat each other as one, in the acronym we find a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex. Perhaps our harsh judgment comes from the fact that we don’t take time to understand and learn about this group. We always label them as one.  In this article I was in my quest of understanding the transgender community.

In the past couple months everyone was glued to see how will the transgender story will unfold, on the SABC telenovela Generations: The Legacy.  This story shows a glimpse how much people especially transgender community go through. They firstly battle to accept themselves for who and what they are.  This is due to the fact that our society in particular conservative society expect everyone to conform to the norms of what is “right”.  This then cause strain to an individual who strongly believe and feel that they are trapped in the wrong body.   There is first fear of being rejected by family, friends and society as a whole.  On the other hand, when you do what is expected you are selling your sole, living to please other people.

On generations the legacy we are introduced to Wandile played by Chiedza Mhende, a soccer player handsome gentleman who is the youngest brother of the three sons of Zola Hadebe.  Wandile is a sweetheart, never play with girls, but has never been seen with a girl, aim to please his father.  Wandile was once caught by his father cross-dressing (wearing clothes of females).  One of the things that made him to feel sense of belonging but he had to stop it, because he aims to please his father a business guru, who dies and does not leave him with a cent in his last will and testament.

Later on Wandile realizes that he is leaving a lie and decided to go through therapy and transgender treatment, meaning that Wandile will now be a female.  The society is already crucifying him and throwing harsh judgements.  However, he is determined to do what he feels is right for him.

“Some people go through what Wandi goes through on a permanent basis, I get to go to a dressing room, put some things on, have certain things removed and go into a body of this character for play, but is actually someone’s deepest, darkest most painful story”, says Chiezda Mhende. The moral of this story line is that you can never please everyone or else you will leave a lie which is filled with lots of regrets.

 

 

Dear intelligent black woman, there’s a seat at my table

Written By Babalwa Dingindlela

For years, the black woman has been abused, objectified, belittled and ridiculed by the media, white supremacy, by other (black) woman and even more by our fellow black brothers! Over the years, this behavior has grown and carried on from generation to generation, causing us young black sisters to be unable to recognize just how powerful, beautiful, intelligent and how great we are.

In a country dubbed as the ‘rape capital’ of the world, both young and old women are victimised, abused and ultimately silenced by men in all parts of our country. It has become very hard for a young black women to celebrate (the beauty and power of) their bodies, without being reduced to objects of pleasure for the male species.

Growing up we are told what not to wear, how not to sit, how to walk, and to “cover that up”. WHY? Because of men who cannot respect the fact that they are not entitled to any part of our bodies, and that we are not here for their own selfish pleasure. As young women we often find it hard to voice out our opinions because most of the time we are ridiculed for being a woman, our opinions or arguments are often held invalid not because of the substance of our statements but because we are woman! We are often taught to aspire to be married, taught that we have to fit into this one view of being woman. We are expected to make peace with the fact that we are born to be someone’s helper and cannot aspire to be more. While our male counterparts are taught to fly planes, build cars and produce cures for pandemics.

As a young women, and more so with black women, we are placed at the bottom of the food chain. You find us right there at the bottom trying to survive, and I have realised that even further down you find the black lesbian woman.

This is a major injustice to the black women, and it begins to feel like one lives in a world that is constantly plotting our demise. It is upon each one of us to lift the other up, as it is so easy to forget that we are the light, we are creation, we often forget our own greatness and find ourselves believing whatever we are told.

It is important that we recognise our own greatness, beauty and intelligence instead of waiting for the world to tell us. Most importantly, we have to these strengths to work despite what the world tells us. We must show the strength, courage and greatness that we have in us.

Listening to the new Solange Album titled “A Seat at the Table”, songs such as “Don’t touch my hair” and “Mad” made me realise that I/we have so much magic! It is okay for me to have an opinion; it’s okay for me to stand for what I think is wrong or right. In a world that commodifies women, it is okay for me to be smart and sexy. Most importantly, it is necessary for me to understand and use my rights as citizen of this world.

Dear intelligent black woman, there’s a seat at my table, come let us talk about our dreams and aspirations. Let us remind each other that they are as valid as those of my male counterparts are – if not more.

 

First Things First: What’s the big deal?

Written by: Bongumsa Gwiji, PR Intern

If you have been in DUT for over a year, you have probably seen (and heard about) the First Things First campaign. It is a student wellness campaign that is run by the HIV/AIDS Centre every semester across all the campuses. You might remember it as those people who give us USB for testing, remember them? Yes, I knew you would!

Just to refresh your memory (even though they already gave you ‘memory sticks’), the campaign encourages us as young people to put our health first. Since HIV is one of the biggest challenges that we face as young people, they also encourage HIV testing. Let’s face it, most of us either think we do not need to do health tests or we are just scared!! That’s why they create a youth-friendly environment for us to test. I have noticed that most of us only remember to test when we see the tents and goodies that they give us. I’m sure many of us did not even know that you can receive the same services on campus at the campus clinics.

Shining the light on the future

Written by: Londiwe Dube, PR Intern

This year we celebrated the continuity of life with the theme “Shining the light on our future”. This year’s 33rd annual Candlelight was celebrated on the 18th of May 2016 with the students and staff of DUT.

This year we celebrated the Candlelight Memorial event with a bit of a twist. Unlike the years before, there was no mourning, no crying or feeling sorry for ourselves. We do not deny that most people have lost loved ones to HIV, but with the many gains South Africa has made with HIV many people are living longer. We wanted to change the mood and remind young people that an HIV diagnosis is not the end, just a detour. It is then up to the person to make their future what they want it to be.

While for some people HIV has become a chronic disease, many others still lack access to correct information, treatment and support. What is even concerning is that most people still experience HIV-related stigma, discrimination and human rights violations on a daily basis. This is what we wanted to change. We wanted to remind everyone, whether infected or affected, that with education and a positive attitude they could do not anything they put their minds to. Most importantly, the event was about challenging our own myths and perceptions about people we viewed as different.

The speakers of the day touched on the relevant issues that were affecting the youth of today. Among the speakers, were members of civil society, a former DUT student who living with HIV and also the SRC leadership. The speakers were mostly young people who had positive stories and words to share with their peers. It was also refreshing way of communicating with young people who are often “tired of hearing about HIV”. On the day it was also highlighted that gender-based violence, alcohol/drug abuse and inconsistent condom use were some of the reasons that HIV infections were rising among young people.

It was interesting to engage with some of the young people who attended the event. When asking students about the day and what was their highlight of the day they said:

Knowing my status was my highlight” Sanele*, 21 years. (Undergrad)

“Well that abstaining is still in fashion was a highlight, lol!” Zukiswa*, 20 years. (Undergrad)

“The MC Radio Gee did it for me!” Andile*, 19 years. (Undergrad)

“Not only was it informative, it was also very entertaining.” Zama*, 26 years (Postgrad)

As we plan for Candlelight 2017, we are encouraged by the shifts in perceptions among the young people. The HIV/AIDS Centre continues to find innovative ways to engage young people on sexual reproductive and health rights. We are also hopeful that our students will continue to demonstrate leadership in these matters.

 

THE HIV/AIDS CENTRE GETS ITS BIO-TECH ON!

Written by: Kwalunga Lureme, PR Intern 

The HIV/AIDS Centre has been partnering with second-year biotech students in a campaign to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS. These events were held across several DUT campuses throughout the first semester. The main purpose of these activations was to partner with students in finding new and innovative ways to improve awareness among other young people. Being that we were working with upcoming professionals, students got to be aware of the different strains of HIV and also encourage safe sex for those students who are sexually active.

One of the students who participated in the event said that “this is a very good project to be involved in, it is also very informative, I didn’t know how to properly put on a condom, now I can.” Condom demonstrations were also part of programme for the day. Students were shown the proper way to put on condoms.

During these projects the students were also asked to get tested and they should know their status, the Biotech students had also partnered with the ISOLEMPILO clinic in Steve Biko campus. These projects were a huge success because a lot of students participated in the events The Biotech student also focused on TB in which students were asked to check for TB, the students who participated said that this kind of events were very important in for them because they were not aware of how easily one can contact TB.

The HIV/AIDS Centre will continue supporting these kinds of projects which help DUT students be aware of HIV/AIDS. During the month of April and May the DUT HIV/AIDS centre distributed 6900 condoms and 1500 lubricants so that students who are sexually active can be safe.