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16 Days of Activism in South Africa

During the 16 days of Activism in South Africa, which commences on 25 November, we will embark on a campaign to further drive awareness and show our continued commitment to ending Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).

Proudly sponsored by Sasol, a special focus this year is on ‘What about the boys’, which encourages and challenges men to look at masculinity differently and contest traditional views around what it means to be a good man.

Further, we want to motivate parents to speak to their children (especially boys). Building on this, it is important when speaking to children and or teenagers to find out what daily struggles our children are facing at home and school and how we can help them.

Why is it so crucial to have this conversation?

Globally, GBVF is a growing phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality and continues to be one of the most significant human rights violations within all societies. Gender-based violence is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but most victims are women and girls.

In South Africa, GBVF is a serious, complex and endemic issue requiring urgent action. We hold the shameful distinction of being one of the world’s most unsafe places to be a woman.

What has contributed to this crisis?

COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns had a profound impact on GBVF, also referred to as the second pandemic, as GBVF cases increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic and its impact in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for many years to come.

What is Sasol doing?

As a company deeply rooted in our values and committed to being sociably responsible, it is imperative that we create awareness, as well as, conduct, support and encourage open and honest conversations about this difficult and upsetting topic.

Improving gender equality and ensuring that all our employees feel empowered and fairly treated, is of the utmost importance to us. Our people are our most valued asset and we remain steadfast in our promise to employees, to provide a safe and caring workplace centred on employee wellbeing. 

We are immensely committed to increasing our efforts to end all forms of discrimination and eliminate all types of violence against women. As an extension of our efforts, we have taken a further step and subscribed to the UN Sustainable development goals, which is a public declaration of our added commitment to promote gender equality.

We also have a responsibility to support our fenceline communities where we have witnessed an alarming increase in GBVF since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our response to this includes providing victims with access to quality care and infrastructure. In support and enhancement of Sasol’s GBVF initiatives.

We encourage employees and the public to join Primestars on a journey to mentor and inspire young men across South Africa. Sasolites will be placed at a school close to where they are located.

How you can help

  • Register to become a MENtor on the Primestars website; https://www.primestarsdigital.co.za/i-am-a-mentor/
  • Complete the online MENtor training module;
  • You will be briefed, and guidance will be given on topics to cover in the sessions; and
  • A MENtor will be required to connect with a Principal or relevant teacher at a school in his area (facilitated by Primestars).

The programme is designed to engage boys, teach them to manage anger and conflict, share emotions in healthy ways, accept and connect with others and stand up and against GBVF.

What can we do?

As a society, we need to DO better and work harder to re-weave the social fabric, so we become a company and society that is nurturing, caring, respectful and in which the human rights of all are protected.

In the recent summit on GBV and Femicide held between 1 and 2 November, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa again spoke to the theme of “Accountability. Acceleration and Amplification, NOW!” He addressed the fact that we need to uphold the principle of accountability, and call those tasked with implementation to account where not enough is being done.

We are all responsible to BE Accountable and BE Caring. We can do better to combat gender-based violence.

Click here to see other Team Sasol social investment initiatives.

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