Cape Town - The end goal of total emancipation of women can only be achieved if South Africans unite across race, class, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, and political parties, according to government, Chapter 9 institutions, and civil society.

"Together, and across all sectors, we must unite towards the total eradication of all forms of violence against women," they said in a joint statement on Saturday ahead of the launch of the annual 16 days of activism campaign against violence against women and children from November 25 to December 10.

As the calendar term for the annual campaign against gender-based violence approached, women’s movement mobilisation and activism had highlighted the strength in unity. "It is only when we unite across race, class, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, and political parties that we can achieve the end goal of total emancipation of women," the statement said.

"The history of South African women’s activism shows us that it was only when women were united across multiple subjective backgrounds, that our struggles advanced. We call upon all South Africans to heed the United Nations theme #HearMeToo by breaking all forms of silence against all manners of abuses and violence against women."

The #HearMeToo theme symbolised a collective appeal to society, to hear women’s pains and demands against gender-based violence. "It is only when we collectively speak against this scourge that we can hope to completely end it."

The department of women will launch the 16 days of activism campaign on Sunday at the KwaNzimela Anglican Church Hall, in KwaMagwaza in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal.

The calendar of events for the period included strategic dialogue sessions with boys and men, discussions with women traditional leaders, and honorary commemorations of the lives and legacies of women who lived and died for the struggle against gender inequality, such as Charlotte Maxeke and Albertina Sisulu, the statement said.

African News Agency/ANA