Lily Hollows. Picture: Instagram
Lily Hollows. Picture: Instagram

Local Musician Lily Hollows takes stance against GBV with new single

By Sameer Naik Time of article published Nov 22, 2020

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Lily Hollows is determined to use her influence as a musician to make a difference in South Africa.

“Art in all its forms is influential, and I believe that with each poem; drawing; sculpture; clothing design; film; collage; song and so many other mediums, we raise awareness,” Hollows told the Saturday Star.

“As South Africans, we are beautifully diverse in our art, and we need to keep creating with a cause.”

And that's exactly what the 21-year-old has done.

Last week the Joburg-based singer and songwriter released her fourth single Rebuild which speaks to issues around GBV.

Hollows teamed up with non-profit organisation Rada (Rape, Alcohol, Drug Abuse) to release her new single, which helps shed light on the matter.

The song also forms part of Rada’s MiPad campaign, which distributes reusable sanitary pads to schools around South Africa.

Hollows, who is fairly new to the music scene having released her debut single Daddy I’m Gone in 2018, says her new song is a call to action.

“South Africa has been dealing with a second pandemic — that being gender-based violence,” she says.

“We're tired of speaking in hushed tones. We're tired of seeing these topics as taboo. We're tired of being silenced.

Rebuild is a call to action to acknowledge the social climate of our country regarding GBV, and to rebuild. Strength does not come from numbers, but rather the unity therein.”

Hollows, who’s music has been described as indie-jazz, says it was of utmost importance that she addressed issues of GBV with her new single.

“Gender violence is a pressing issue in our country. Without awareness and acknowledgement, there cannot be change. It's important to amplify each others’ voices, and music is such a powerful tool to rise up and unite.”

She says the song speaks of pain, suffering, and brokenness.

“Gender-based violence and femicide isn't going to be fixed instantly, but we cannot lose hope. There is strength in sisterhood and there is strength in the unity of our nation.

“I’m incredibly grateful to have released this single. It deals with subject matter that I am passionate about creating awareness about, and being able to positively impact our nation using an integral part of expression — that being, music — gives me hope. We are proudly South African and we will proudly rebuild.”

She says coming up with lyrics for her new song was emotionally taxing on her.

“I'm a very visual person and when I sat down at my piano to write Rebuild, I pictured rubble. I saw boulders, bricks, broken buildings and I lyrically wanted to capture what I saw. With all the debris, I wanted to get across that often at times, breaking down is in actual fact breaking through.

“The subject matter is quite emotionally taxing, so it took me about a week to finish writing. I wanted to emphasise that we are called to action in this song, hence the title being a transitive verb, rebuild.”

GBV continues to skyrocket in South Africa.

Last week, Police Minister Bheki Cele released the quarterly crime statistics, and one of the worrying trends is the continued violence against women in South Africa.

According to Cele, “July, August and September 2020 were dangerous months for thousands of women in this country.”

During this time, 8 922 cases of rape were reported. “A sample of 5 168 rape dockets revealed that 3 578 persons were raped in their homes or at the home of their perpetrators.”

On Sunday, the body of a 19-year-old woman from KwaZulu Natal was found on a pathway at Woody Glen, near Hammarsdale.

According to reports, Snegugu Linda’s heart had been ripped out of her body, and parts of her digestive system were laying on the ground next to her.

Hollows adds that as a female living in South Africa, it was important to address the issue.

“I fear for my life as a female living in South Africa. I am scared, but I am hopeful,” says Hollows.

“We need to acknowledge what is happening in our country and focus on the rebuilding thereof. It starts at home. How are we teaching our children to view women? How is our language geared toward victim-blaming? How are feminine qualities being viewed in comparison to masculine qualities? Most importantly, how do we change this? The building blocks of rebuilding start at home.”

The 21-year-old musician says South Africans need to do better and work harder against the scourge.

“It is a sensitive topic. The majority of women in our country have had encounters, or know of others who have had first-hand experience with gender-based violence. It’s imperative for us not to accept this as the norm nor become complacent.

“It is the active working against this pandemic that will change the social climate of our country — not the denial thereof.”

She adds that as a musician, it is her responsibility to use her voice to address important issues.

“As a creative, I believe we're able to express how we see the world in such different ways.” As a singer-songwriter especially, I take it upon myself to not only express how I feel, but to amplify others’ feelings when they struggle to find the words to do so.

Hollows has also spoken of her delight at teaming up with Rada.

“It’s a dynamic organisation that is built on the principles of empowerment. Seeing the positive difference they’re making in our country is so sobering. As South Africans, we need to be part of the active pursuit of social change.”

She is also assisting in the organisation’s MiPad campaign.

“Rada is currently busy with an initiative called the MiPad drive. We’ve been distributing sanitary pads that are reusable for up to five years to girls in communities who don't have access to these necessities.”

“On average, these girls miss 60 days of school a year as a result of something that is completely natural and involuntary.

“With Rada’s MiPad drive, we’ve been able to make a positive impact in communities and help empower young women, to empower themselves.”

The Saturday Star

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