Men will cover their mouths in a march to the Union Buildings against the abuse of women.
RAPULA MOATSHE

A SILENT march led by a group of men with black tape over their mouths is planned to take place in Pretoria on Saturday to raise awareness against women abuse.

Organisers said the two-hour march was motivated by the much-publicised violent incidents perpetrated by men against women in the country.

Co-ordinator Siyabulela Jentile said the march would take place under the banner 'Not In My Name', aiming at mobilising men to take a stand against women abuse.

"We are living in South Africa and we keep track of what is happening on social media. We are aware of what is happening in the country. We were not going to fold our arms and do nothing while our women and girlfriends continue to be victimised on daily basis," Jentile said.

He said the movement would intensify a call against women abuse on Saturday at a march to be staged from Church Square and head straight to the Union Buildings.

Jentile said participants would depart from Church Square at 10am with black tapes over their mouths to symbolise bouts of silence by men on the ongoing abuse against women.

"We are men who want to hold each other accountable. The fact that me and you don't beat up our girlfriends or our wives doesn't mean we should be excluded from a call for men to desist from abusing women," he said.

Activist groups such as Brothers for Life, religious movements and bikers were expected to take part in the march. Women were also welcome to attend the march.

Jentile said some men in the North West province pledged to  embark on another march in Mafikeng to raise concerns against women abuse on Saturday.

While at the Union Buildings participants would listen to anti-abuse messages, according to Jentile. He said there won't be a memorandum of grievances handed over to someone.

"After the messages we will remove the black tapes from our mouths and we will  start singing songs. We will obviously have a keynote address by speakers who we are still going to confirm," Jentile said.

The movement was using social media and other media platforms to mobilise for more people to join the march.

"It is more of an awareness raising campaign. We are in fact marching against ourselves. We will look at how we as gents can forge a way forward to stop abuse against women. We must get down there on the ground with the people. There are men who are afraid to speak up against abuse.

"The most important thing would be to get men to come through and listen to our message. We want to say to the guys that they can be better men by stopping the raping, killing and burning of women," Jentile said.

He also made a call to men to report to police incidents of abuse against women committed by fellow men.

"Don't make criminals to be comfortable in our midst," he said.