GBV, Nov. 21, 2022, 8:20 a.m.

Sun International helps tackle GBV


School educational workshops for scholars and self-defence online courses for women

With gender-based violence (GBV) high on the agenda from the end of this month during the 16 Days of Activism, Sun International is taking educational workshops to needy schools in under-privileged areas.


The courses will tackle issues such as the six Virtues of True Masculinity and No Excuse for Abuse. In early December, two Soweto schools will benefit from the workshops, with more being held in the first term of 2023.


With so many boys having absent fathers, the six virtues will encourage them to become the men that they were destined to be, while encouraging female learners to recognise and value true masculinity. This will include teaching them how to use their strength for good, building solid characters, taking care of themselves, supporting each other, become mentors, and help make the world a better place.


When it comes to GBV, learners are educated about the crisis, the forms it takes, as well as actions that each boy and girl can take. “We also train learners on the dangers of early sexual engagement and how it presents the possibility of infections, early pregnancy and possibly dropping out. Girl learners are taught about the dangers associated with dating older men and how this speaks to statutory rape,” says Heidi Edson, Sun International’s SED Manager.


Already, in a broader socio-economic workshop, 200 learners and educators from Minerva Secondary School attended a course in November during which the discussion focused on the challenge of crime, gangsterism and contract killing. These issues are said to be prevalent in Alexandra with learners becoming contract killers while in school and some being involved in armed robberies and hijackings around the community, explained Edson.


Sun International believes that having sessions on crimes fits in perfectly with the GBV programmes as it shows exactly what happens when young boys are without positive mentorship and guidance. “It is evidence of the outcomes of toxic masculinity and a lack of positive masculinity,” says Edson. “It was important that learners learn about the importance of good role modelling and positive guidance to avoid falling into the trap where they end up becoming criminals.”


Its partner, Father A Nation went into the community to speak about crime with the intention to heal and repair what is broken. It has made a commitment to revisit the school and provide ongoing support to educators. Learners were taught that they are valuable and that they have their whole lives ahead of them.


“Learners at the school are eager to learn and participate in dialogues and discussions about the challenges plaguing their communities. It is extremely important that they are given an opportunity to voice their opinions and be exposed to skills not contained in their curriculum,” said facilitator Sydney Madibo, a qualified educator and seasoned trainer.



GBV is at unprecedented levels in South Africa, with the statistics indicating that one in four women will experience violence by men and are five times more likely to be killed than men. “A woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa. This issue is a social ill of our time that has started reversing the strides made in gender equality since the dawn of our democracy,” says Edson.


Father A Nation founder and CEO Craig Wilkinson said: “For the sake of our women and society, we must address the toxic masculine environment that has been created. We aim to create awareness, empower, and inform all women about the help available.”


In addition to the education workshops in schools, Sun International has collaborated with forgood, South Africa’s largest volunteering platform, who are hosting two free, virtual self-defence workshops – one on 22 November and the second on 05 December 2022. The purpose of the workshops is to equip women with techniques to defend themselves. To sign up, visit the forgood website – click here.