Cape Town - Feminist gender activists and members of the LGBTIQ+ community are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday across South Africa in protest against gender-based violence.
“We just decided that this has to be stopped and that this cannot be normalized,” spokesperson for #TheTotalShutdown Lucy Nomhle Bowles said. Bowles said that women for years have been subjected to heinous crimes and its time to hold government to account.
“Women are no longer safe to walk alone without being whistled at by men, we need to start protecting our women in our country,” she said.
#TheTotalShutdown has urged the public to stay away from work and wear black with a touch of red to show solidarity. Mass marches are expected to take place across all nine provinces, while neighbouring countries, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia will hold their own marches in aid for the same cause.
Transgender women and members of the LGBTIQ+ community will also be participating in the march.
“We must start guarding those individuals who are different. The future is not only women it’s queer, transgender and our children. Transgender women are literally being murdered and hunted down by men,” Bowles said.
The protest forms part of the #MeToo movement which gained huge international attention after a number of actresses in Hollywood came out with their own sexual harassment experiences. It hit South Africa earlier this year after education advocacy group Equal Education was rocked by numerous sex scandals. It emerged that several senior management officials were accused of harassing female workers in the organisation.
The protest in Cape Town is expected to start at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and will be making its way to Parliament to hand over a list of demands.