Johannesburg - Communities across South Africa will once again join hands in marking the start of the annual 16 days of activism for No Violence against Women and Children on Wednesday.

Various nationwide activities are being planned in light of the United Nations campaign – International Day of No Violence against Women – which takes place from 25 November to 10 December when International Human Rights Day is celebrated.

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu will be at the Naauwpoort village in Mahikeng on Wednesday to launch this year’s campaign themed “Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.

The North West capital will be a hub of activity as from Tuesday tonight in the build up to the this year’s launch of 16 days of activism.

Shabangu, accompanied by NW Premier Supra Obakeng Ramoeletsi Mahumapelo and Social Development MEC Fenny Gaolaolwe, will visit various crime hotspots as part of “Claim back the night” campaign and “Operation Basadi”.

The authorities, together with various faith based organisations, will gather at Danville church to render prayers against gender violence before proceeding to four identified areas prone to criminal activity.

Activities, keeping central to the theme “Not in my neighbourhood”, are set to get under way at the Break Through Harvest Ministries on Tuesday evening.

Elsewhere, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in Limpopo will honour this important initiative in Thohoyandou on Thursday.

The DCS will address issues related to gender-based violence from a victim and perpetrator’s perspective at the Correctional Centre (Matatshe) from 10:00 on wards. As part of an integrated approach, the department will also use the event to include the commemoration of World Aids Day (1 December) and International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December).

South Africa’s youth leadership development organisation loveLife, is urging young people to speak up and join in by being part of the solution to fight against all forms of violence against women and children. It believes in the power of youth as change agents.

As part of the 16 days, loveLife will run inter-generational dialogues called ‘Born Free Dialogues (BFDs) at loveLife Y-centre academies nationwide. These BFDs will be implemented across the country and communities are invited to join in so they can be counted in towards creating a non-violent South Africa.

Young people are encouraged to tackle abuse in any way they can, including wearing a white ribbon in support of silent victims speaking out as well as reporting incidents of violence.

ANA