By ERIC PHIRI
“We as the Springboks and South African Rugby are joining forces with Brothers for Life to support this campaign. We believe that as brothers, fathers and sons we can help to mobilise South African men not to look away, not to be silent and to take action to address violence against women and children,” says John Smit, captain of the Springboks.
“I support Brothers for Life specifically because I believe that I have a role to play in positively influencing men to make correct and responsible life choices. I am delighted that SARU has decided to partner with the movement, and I am especially proud that my teammates in the national side are taking a stand with me against the scourge of violence against women and children. They truly are my Brothers for Life!”
The involvement of the Springboks and SA Rugby adds to the growing number of organisations that are supporting the efforts by Brothers for Life to improve health and wellbeing of all South Africans. Organisations include the South African National AIDS Council Men’s Sector, the Department of Health, the National Prosecuting Authority, USAID/PEPFAR, UNICEF, Manchester United, FC Barcelona and many NGOs across the country.
Studies show that the majority of men do not commit violence against women and children. This new campaign by Brothers for Life aims to mobilise this majority to not look away, to not be bystanders and to take action.“This campaign says to those who do commit violence that even if you are drunk, even if you are provoked, even if you are not sexually satisfied within your relationship – THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE,” says Bafana Khumalo, of Sonke Gender Justice, one of the partners in the Brothers for Life campaign. “The Springboks and SA Rugby are leading South Africa in showing that all South Africans can do something to break the silence about violence against women and children,” says Mandla Ndlovu, Project Manager for Brothers for Life.
This campaign has identified 16 things that people can do to stop gender-based violence. These 16 actions are symbolic of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children, that will be part of this campaign. Over the coming months the South African National AIDS Council’s Men’s Sector will host high-profile community dialogues under the banner of Brothers for Life to get communities to engage and look for solutions to violence against women and children.
Brothers for Life is rolling out training to men’s organisations to engage men on their sexual and reproductive health using the Brothers for Life Toolkit. The Brothers for Life Ambassadors will promote messages that oppose violence against women and children, and the campaign will promote the Stop Gender Based Violence Helpline. “This is the ethos of Brothers for Life: men showing other men how to live healthy and responsible lifestyles. And with our GBV campaign, it all starts with the tens of thousands of men who were supporting the Springboks on Saturday,” says Bob Phato, Chairperson of the SANAC Men’s Sector.