The dawn of a new era of freedom came 28 years ago, with the hope that everyone living in South Africa would be guided by the law and able to live a free life without fear of government control or any other person. However, despite the fact that South Africa's entire constitutional democracy is based on freedom, equality, and dignity for all, women and girls in South Africa still cannot truly celebrate Freedom Day as their lives and safety are under constant threat.
According to reports, a spate of violence against women has been on the rise over the past few weeks as Namhla Mtwa, an OR Tambo District Municipality employee, was killed outside her house, while in Mount Ayliff a teenager was raped and her eyes were gouged out. Among the victims was EFF former secretary-general Godrich Gardee's daughter (Hillary Gardee), who was found dead outside of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga after she has gone missing. The above-reported acts of violence against our women and girls indicate that although this year, the country celebrates its 28th anniversary of freedom, our women and girls are still not freed from the chains of gender-based violence.
Throughout South Africa, women and girls carry an overwhelming burden of abuse as they are continuously subjected to violent treatment both at home and in a variety of public places, including the streets, public transportation, schools, workplaces, and public restrooms. The overwhelming burden of abuse that women and girls carry has resulted in women and girls devoting a significant amount of their lives and energy to surviving abuse and violence and as a result, their freedom of movement, and their ability to participate in school, work, and public life have been severely impacted.
Keeping women and girls free shouldn't be restricted to one day. Instead, it should be part of our everyday efforts to ensure they live without violence and in a dignified, safe, and free environment. It is time for both men and women to work together in unity and create a country that is free of violence and where women and girls can live in safe homes and communities.
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