A woman speaks at the #TotalShutDown march in Lesotho, Maseru. Photo supplied by Women Protest SA

The #TotalShutDown marches have spilled over to neighbouring Lesotho and Namibia where women and gender non-conforming people are taking a stand against gender-based violence.

Marchers in Lesotho have gathered at Setsoto Stadium and will march to the historical Sefika Sa Moshoeshoe in Maseru. In Namibia, the marchers will gather at Katutura Hospital in Windhoek. Men are excluded from the marches, with organisers advising them to lend their support by staying away from work.

Women in South Africa, donning red and black, had started gathering across the nine provinces on Wednesday morning ready to take part in the countrywide protest. 

In Gauteng, marchers will gather at the old Putco bus depot in Pretoria at 9 am.

They will then move from the Putco depot down Struben Street. They will turn into Mandela Drive, then Madiba Street before reaching the front lawns of the Union Buildings where they will hand over a memorandum.  

The organisers have urged employers to allow women time off work to take part.

''We are therefore requesting the support of all employers to support this movement by allowing women and gender non-conforming persons time away to participate in #TheTotalShutdown marches across the country without financial penalty," said the organisers. 

"Furthermore, we humbly request that all essential workers who must be at work on this day be permitted to take a break from 13h00 to 13h30 in order to participate in a national moment in solidarity against gender-based violence.'' 

Political parties and institutions such as the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Gender Commission have thrown their weight behind the #TotalShutDown marches across the country.

African News Agency/ANA