Every Friday, students at McAuley House in Johannesburg stage a silent hour-long protest; they stand outside their school, right hands raised, palms out, in solidarity with victims of abuse.
Their stand is part of the school’s Kwanele Kwanele – Enough is Enough – campaign to raise awareness of abuse against women and children.
Kwanele Kwanele was initiated in 2013 by school principal, Eleanor Hough, an abuse survivor, who “could not take the hurtful moments anymore”. She says, “I was in my car driving within the heart of Durban and a part of me just could not take the hurtful moments anymore; my bleeding heart said shout ‘enough is enough’ which was my turning point.”
The campaign is advocating for support for more stringent penalties for convicted abusers, and a more sympathetic justice system in which victims are always treated with dignity. It also aims to provide access to information for victims and survivors of abuse.
“We want to educate more people about … the … abuse that is within our country,” said Hough.
“Even though we are a private school, most of our learners come from places where they see the abuse, are abused or know someone who is being abused; however most of the youth in our school have now found their voice to say ‘no’ and to come talk to us if they can’t find someone at home to talk to,” she said.
The campaign also supports national non-governmental organisation POWA, People Opposing Woman Abuse, through funds raised from t-shirt sales. The t-shirts – sporting the Kwanele Kwanele logo – sell for R40 each and are available through the school.
Hough hopes to involve more schools in the campaign and set up initiatives to promote Kwanele Kwanele; she wants to set up a solidarity walk and encourage pupils and their families to volunteer at local women’s shelters. She also invites speakers to talk to communities around the school about what constitutes abuse and how it affects victims and their families.
PLAY YOUR PART
To learn more about the Kwanele Kwanele campaign, visit McAuley House, or call Wendy Neervoort or Iva Brennan on +27 (0) 11 726 1310.