Women at the #TotalShutdown holding placards. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan
DURBAN - It cannot be that a woman's spirit is so broken that she can no longer look at herself in the mirror in the morning. 

These were the words of Beverly Motlabani, a representative of the KwaZulu-Natal Network on Violence Against Women, as the Durban leg of the #TotalShutdown came to an end on Wednesday. 

Motlabani handed over a memorandum of demands to KZN's Education MEC, Mthandeni Dlungwane.

Some of the demands include for local government to build support structures such as centres and shelters for abused women, for the education department to introduce gender-based violence awareness programmes as part of the school curriculum and for the justice system to deny alleged rapists bail inorder to favour victims and impose harsher sentences and no parole for those convicted of gender-based crimes. 

The handover marked the culmination of the #TotalShutdown Women’s Month march which filled the streets of Durban on Wednesday.

The march revealed the number of victims of gender-based violence, with Motlabani wearing a blood-stained t-shirt showing how men would brutally assault their partners.

Women at the #TotalShutdown holding placards. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan
Women at the #TotalShutdown holding placards. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan
Speaking to thousands of women who wore black and red, Motlabani told the crowd that it cannot be that women have no place to hide when men attack them.

The echoes of the song   “Wenzeni umfazi sitsheleni ?” (What have women done to you?) reverberated through Dr Pixely Ka Seme (West) Street in the Durban CBD.

For 72-year-old Normah Maclu, who was among the marchersl, she said many elderly women were victims of gender-based violence and said the main perpetrators were their children.