Many placards at the #TotalShutdown march in the city, and nationwide, sent a clear message that women will no longer tolerate being discriminated against and abused. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cities across the country came to a standstill yesterday as thousands of women took to the streets in black and red clothing, and with one collective message: “My body is not your crime scene.”

#TheTotalShutDown march was an intersectional women’s march against gender-based violence that took place countrywide It also kicked off Women’s Month.

In Cape Town, hundreds braved the wet weather and descended on Parliament, where they made speeches about the struggles women face daily.

#TheTotalShutDown Western Cape spokesperson Nozi Samela said: “We decided to start this march because we have seen the growing trend of women and children being murdered in this country. 

“We have been waiting in silence, hoping the government would do something about it, but we’ve realised that they’ve done nothing... This is the start of Women’s Month and we expected to celebrate the victories of 1976, but we do not feel free.

“We are saying to the government, listen to us, train policeman better, make sure that when we go to report our cases we have someone to hear us.

“Make sure that, in the courts, our cases are heard. Make sure all cases are followed up. More than anything we want the government to take note and listen to us.”

Marching with a cross in her hand with R.I.P on it and wearing a T-shirt with the words “Rapists se moe*”, 20-year-old Shanice Appels from Mitchells Plain said the cross represented all the victims lost to violence and “the death of our freedom”. Video: Nicola Daniels

Marching with a cross in her hand with R.I.P on it and wearing a T-shirt with the words “Rapists se moe*”, 20-year-old Shanice Appels from Mitchells Plain said the cross represented all the victims lost to violence and “the death of our freedom”.

Every day women and girls are being raped and murdered on the Cape Flats and no one is doing anything about it. Today we are marching for all our girls, so there can be justice.”


Jo’ann Cupido, deputy chairperson of the Blikkiesdorp Joint Committee, was emotional when given a chance to tell her story. “I was abused by my husband for 15 years and I (stopped it) only three months ago.

“We do not say leave your husband, but we encourage you to break the chains of abuse and violence. To the women who are still caught in the bondage of silence, get rid of the chains.” who are still caught in the bondage of silence, get rid of the chains.”

This protester's dress shows the faces of numerous women who were murdered. Picture: Valentia Fisher