The One Billion Rising campaign was marked at
Umlazi’s M-Section by the Flatfoot Dance Company
and members of the community.

UKZN staff and students took to the streets of Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Valentine’s Day as part of the global One Billion Rising Campaign which seeks to express outrage about gender-based violence.

Working with Diakonia in Durban to draw attention to the rising spate of attacks on women and girls, activities including speeches / pledges by various officials and activists and performances by artists including Ewok were held at the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

Dr Lubna Nadvi, an academic whose areas of specialisation include civil society, feminism and international relations, said: ‘With the spate of gruesome rape cases that have been taking place, it is critical that all sectors of society including us academics become more actively involved in doing more to stop this violence. One in three of us women on the planet are at risk of becoming a victim of sexual violence / abuse.’

Nadvi represented UKZN at the Magistrate’s Court event, and also spoke in her capacity as the Chair of the Advice Desk for the Abused, a human rights NGO, with head offices at UKZN’s Westville campus. ‘Anene Booysen’s rape and murder has got to wake us up  . . . even those of us who have been doing this work for years,’ said Nadvi.

Nadvi – together with other colleagues – plans to roll-out initiatives at the University in the coming months geared at addressing gender-based violence.

‘Our voice at UKN is very muted around gender justice and gender-based violence  issues and we need to find a way to actually re-energise the space, using existing academic structures, seminar spaces etc,’ she added.

‘The least we can do is raise awareness and keep this issue on our academic radar, through the various academic / intellectual spaces we have access to.’

Meanwhile, sparked by Jane Quin announcing a One Billion Rising event on the Pietermaritzburg campus, a last minute wildfire network of staff and students determined to take a stand against violence against women gathered together for a participatory consciousness raising session and a One Billion Rising dance on the Library lawns.

Quin acknowledged the particular efforts of Lucky Maluleke, Bambi Ogram, Fiona Jackson with her media students, Roberto Hemero and Saaj Sader who helped make it happen, as well as all the participating staff and students who helped make the day a success.

The Flatfoot Dance Company, based on Howard College campus, also marked the occasion with their arts community based programmes at Umlazi’s M-Section.