Aimed at raising awareness around violence against women and children, The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Manenberg, hosted their annual Air Your Dirty Laundry event. Marking World Aids Day on 1 December, the event, which forms part of the national 16 Days of Activism campaign, gathered around 700 school children from the surrounding areas. Together with members of South African Police Force, rapper Youngtsa and hip-hop artist Emile YX, the learners made a pledge to end violence.
“Air Your Dirty Laundry is an artistic platform that gives young people a chance to speak up and out against violence. Children are silenced far too often on the subject of abuse, bullying and sexual exploitation. Our campaign aims to raise awareness around violence and its pervasiveness in homes and communities,” Director of the Centre, Shaheema McLeod said.
Sticking to the anti-violence theme, street artist Martin Lund collaborated with local teenagers to paint a 50-metre long mural at the Centre. Spreading out from the central image of two clasped hands, participants painted messages against violence on pictures of t-shirts along washing lines, a symbol of the campaign. Children also wrote personal messages about violence on pieces of coloured ribbon, which they secured to the fence along Klipfontein Road, forming the words “End Violence”.
Established 17-years ago, the Saartjie Baartman Centre has assisted more than 180 000 victims of crime and violence. Over the past few years, they have seen a 65% increase in the number of women and children seeking assistance at their emergency shelter.
“The women seeking our services are getting younger and younger, which shows that we need to focus on young people and children if we want to break the cycle of violence in this country,” says McLeod.
End violence pledge:
Peace begins with me.
I will do my part to keep my community and schools safe.
I will not be violent or disrespectful to others.
I understand that violence is never acceptable.
I will pledge to keep the peace and STOP the silence.
It starts with me.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:
072 930 4412 / 021 447 1082
On behalf of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children:
Director: Shaheema McLeod