The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The world has a long way to go to address the issue, it isn’t only South Africa where gender based violence is prevalent but it is a huge issue here. Add in our high levels of poverty, HIV and drug addiction and it is a recipe for disaster.
Cape Town has a forensic unit at Victoria hospital where medical care, social workers, psychology and medico-legal assistance is provided.
My friend Bronwyn who runs Community Cohesion works there.
Recently Bronwyn launched an appeal for donations of instant oats for the rape survivors who are being treated at the forensic unit. Victims need to take post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV transmission.
The reality is that many women do not have the food security they need to take the medication, which needs to be taken for a month, and is seriously strong. It cannot be taken without food.
This forensic unit covers over 50 different suburbs. Here is a map so you can see the high number of communities and the immense level of need.
All of the areas shown go to Victoria hospital for assistance with sexual violence. There are so many areas in the catchment with abject levels of poverty, so these oats will make a huge difference. Just having transport to get to the hospital is a huge challenge for many of the women.
Some women do not survive their attack to even make it to the hospital.
A friend told me a horrific story about a friend of hers who was strangled and stabbed in Hout Bay.
Christel was murdered by her cousin Andrew and her dead body was left in the bathroom of her home for days. Her family had been trying to contact her and they went to her home to look for her. Her mother, son and the father of her child discovered her decomposing body lying on the bathroom floor with a curtain covering her face.
Christel had shared the house with her female cousin whose parents owned the house. Her aunt and uncle lived in Hangberg which is another area of Hout Bay. When Andrew was released from prison for murder he pitched up at his parents previous home where Christel and his sister were staying. Andrew was a meth addict and when he came around he tried to rape his sister but his sister fought him off and then she went to stay with her parents in their home in Hangberg. Christel had nowhere else to go and stayed in the home.
Andrew returned and argued with Christel and he stabbed her several times and strangled her. Over the next few days Andrew tried to find a way to get rid of Christel’s body. He tried to borrow a chain saw from the woodcutters who live by the river. He tried to dig a hole at the cemetery but the caretaker chased him away. He bought plastic bags and an axe.
When the family discovered Christel’s body they found 4 or 5 used condoms which indicated that Andrew must have been violating her body after her death. He wore condoms as Christel was HIV positive.
Everything about this murder is just so horrendous but many aspects of it occur regularly in South Africa and in other countries.
There are so many women and children who are victimized by people they know or even by family.
A few weeks ago 2 teenagers were charged with the rape and murder of 14 year old Janika Mello whose body was found in her backyard. The half-naked girl was found lying among broken furniture, rubble and several condoms with a bloody concrete block next to her.
She had been bashed beyond recognition and her mother could only identify her by her shoes. One of the murderers was a distant cousin.
Or the story of Kwanele Fezile Zuma and her brother Ngceboyenkosi Minende Zuma, both 22, from Mpumalanga. They took a taxi back home late on Monday after they both went for interviews in Johannesburg.
The taxi had several men in it and one of them hit Ngceboyenkosi in the back of the head with a gun and threw him out of the moving taxi. Ngceboyenkosi had blacked out and only woke up in hospital the next day where he was told that his sister Kwanele was dead. She had been raped then murdered.
Another young University student was stabbed 52 times in her dorm room. 21 year old Precious Ramabulana was a hard working student and the shining light of her family. Precious was murdered on the eve of the launch of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
It seems to never end.
If you would like to support the brilliant work that Community Cohesion do then please donate via the bank info found on their website.
Or if you want to donate to the Back A Buddy fund raising campaign for purchasing the oats, it’s available HERE.
Another ongoing drama in Cape Town is the attacks on our public transport systems and this week there were more train fires. In the early hours of Thursday morning 18 carriages were destroyed by fire and many of the platforms were closed.
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato stated that more than 40 train sets, with at least 140 carriages, have been burnt over the past three years “yet not a single person had been prosecuted”. This is despite a new security force being implemented.
My own Thursday was pretty good however. Our new HR system went live and the client provided champagne and Charly’s cake. 🧁 Charly’s Bakery is the best in Cape Town. They also brought in a portable coffee cart and a few baristas to provide us with free coffees all day.
They also gave us all a branded baseball cap and a nice big coffee mug.
Everyone else on the project was relaxing and making tons of noise but as I’m working on multiple work streams I was as busy as always, but I definitely scarfed some of that delicious cake. I had a meeting from 3 to 4pm then I dashed out quickly as we had dinner plans.
When I got home I had a few minutes before I needed to shower and decided to have a wee lie down, but Pixie was not having it. She insisted on trying to shove her tongue up my nostril.
Norm and I were meeting my daughter Caitlin, her beau Wes and our nephew Calum who is over from Scotland.
We all met in Hout Bay at Lucky Bao. As it was 34 degrees that day we asked for a table outside. It was a stunning evening and the recently redesigned patio and garden looked gorgeous.
As we were seated near the door the smokers in the garden did not bother us.
Caitlin has been ill for a few days and Wes has the flu so I was happy they made the effort.
Caitlin looked so beautiful and she was wearing a gorgeous pair of leather boots I had passed on to her as I can no longer wear high heels. I love it when I can recycle something to my girls, especially when it is an item I invested a lot of money in. I bought the boots from a charming little boutique in London.
Calum had been at a wine farm with his friends all day so he took an Uber. He seems to be having a great time on his visit.
We had a variety of dishes and all of the food was very well received. All of us had the Bao Chica Bao dish as a starter. It was a crispy piece of chicken in a fluffy fresh Bao.
Popeye’s Chicken sandwich better watch their back.
Norm and I both had the Lucky Wagyu Burger: 180g local Wagyu, kimchi, miso & spring onion aioli, bourbon, maple & soy glazed bacon, 8 month aged boerenkaas, toasted japanese milk bun, fries. It was R140.
The mix of flavours were brilliant together.
Wes had the Shio Ramen Pork Belly: Egg, double-soup and spring onion at R125. He said it was really good.
Caitlin had the Lucky Poké Bowl with salmon and black rice and said it was delicious.
Calum had the spicy chicken wings after his Bao.
We had a fabulous relaxed night.
At home this week Norm has been cooking some delicious low carb meals.
He tried the steak and zucchini noodle dish again, this time he used fillet steak instead of beef strips and it was so tender and tasty.
Tuesday night Norm baked chicken breasts and I made guacamole to spread on top. He grilled bacon to top it all.
He made fondant sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus to go with it. It was so delicious.
On Wednesday he roasted a pork fillet and made puréed cauliflower with cheese as a base and fried zucchini and mushrooms to go with it.
Friday we always do take outs and I had my usual sushi from K1.
It was sheer perfection this week. They got the order right and the salmon and prawns were tasty and fresh.
As we had gone to bed late on Thursday after our dinner out, I was a bit groggy on Friday. Traffic was backed up badly to get onto the motorway and after a very slow bumper to bumper journey to the next junction we were diverted off the motorway and into another suburb. I did not know the route and when I put on my GPS I received a message from my colleague telling me to avoid the motorway as a truck had lost its load on the motorway. Damnit. A bit too late to save me unfortunately. I eventually managed to find my way to the office but spent well over an hour getting there.
We had more treats from the client to celebrate the successful migration and they brought in a team of masseuses to give us all ten minute neck massages and there was more cake. The massage was amazing and she worked hard on my sore neck and upper back. I am still bruised but my neck is so much looser.
A few people rolled off of the project this week. One team member flew back home to India and another team member said ‘he was much better than most of the Indians I have worked with’. I looked at him with shock and called him out on his racism and otherism. I said to him it is like saying to a Chinese person they are a great driver as opposed to the ‘rest of their people’ or that someone is ‘sexy for a black girl/guy’. I actually heard both of these latter phrases on telly this week believe it or not.
My coworker was offended by me pointing out his stereotyping and racism. He said ‘Well I know what I meant’ and he just did not grasp what I was trying to explain. He tried to explain that all of the Indians he has worked with are fine if working from a specification document but will not apply independent thought on their own. I finally just left it.
The show I saw the Asian driver comment on is a new show I just started watching called “Merry Happy Whatever” with Dennis Quaid and Ashley Tinsdale.
It was quite a cute show but it also approached some interesting views on a variety of issues and showed the inherent racism and bigotry of some people from previous generations or those with extreme religious views.
On the complete opposite of that show I also started the series “Ghost Wars”. I love anything about the supernatural so I love this show. It is a tiny bit gory and a whole lot of freaky.
We had a longer lie on Saturday but Norm had to meet the rest of the security group from our suburb at 9. He got home late morning and made us a healthy brunch of scrambled cheesy eggs, bacon, Rosa tomatoes and avocado.
Norm worked in the afternoon and I relaxed and pottered about, relishing not having to be anywhere.
I went to Drumming this morning in Marina da Gama. It was our last session until next year.
On the way there I passed a large peacock just chilling near the forest edge. He appeared to be on his own, no peahen or other male nearby. He was so bright and beautiful.
While waiting for everyone to arrive, Frans read a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.
“One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.
The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.
The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.”
So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.
“That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing. You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”
We could all benefit from releasing our cows.
We had tea after drumming as a few people brought some treats. I love that group of people, they are all so kind and sincere.
Later this afternoon we went to a braai at our friends Andy and Alison. There were 11 of us there and everyone was lovely. Andy and Alison have 3 Saluki dogs, one is a 11 month old puppy who is adorable. They are such elegant and beautiful animals.
The older two were constantly harassed by the pup and eventually wandered off to have a rest.
Alison made loads of salads and veggies and Andy grilled lamb, pork and steak.
In honor of so many people who eat low carb, Alison also made a peanut butter cheesecake and it was divine! Even Norm loved it and he hates peanut butter.
We had such a fun evening chatting and laughing. I really enjoyed it.
Lily messaged us to say that Calum made it to Mossel Bay and had dinner with Lily and Josh.
He is driving all along the Garden Route and then up to Johannesburg and on to a game farm. It was so great to see him.
Tomorrow I am back at work. We have a new person joining us on the team which will be great as we have far more work than we can cope with. Hopefully that will take a bit of stress off of me.
Have a great week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo