Radio drama tackles migrancy, gender violence

27 November 2013

A series of short radio dramas focused on increasing awareness of the difficulties faced by refugees and migrants in South Africa are to be broadcast on community stations throughout the country during the national 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, which started on Monday.

The radio series are an attempt to highlight why these communities are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence. These communities also face challenges when accessing care and treatment services, says Deborah Walter of CMFD Productions, a Johannesburg-based media consultancy that helped produce the series.

While all women and girls face challenges reporting any kind of violence, refugees and migrants face added barriers of language, lack of knowledge of local systems and rights, not knowing where to go, few support systems, and at times xenophobic responses, Walter said in a statement on Tuesday.

Care centres

Change the Story: Refugees and Migrants Speak Against Gender-Based Violence was produced by CMFD on behalf of Sonke Gender Justice Network, a non-governmental organisation working to “achieve gender equality, prevent gender-based violence and reduce the spread of HIV and the impact of Aids”.

Sonke has been working with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to promote awareness of the Thuthuzela Care Centres, which have been established by the government as innovative one-stop facilities offering comprehensive services to victims.

Migrants and refugees are often reluctant to take things further as they are aware of stigma as well as afraid of getting into more trouble, Walter says. “The care centres offer them safe alternatives, and Sonke Gender Justice is trying to encourage refugees and migrants to seek out help if they need it.”

A group of 20 refugees, migrants and South Africans collaborated to develop, write, and voice the three mini-dramas.

Working together

“We created the storylines based on the real-life experiences told during the workshop – about what has happened to themselves, their friends, their family,” Walter said. “The mixed group of South Africans and non-South Africans stood together to stay no to gender violence, no to sexual violence and domestic abuse. Working together, we can change the stories, to create a norm where violence is no longer tolerated, regardless of where anyone is from.”

The dramas are accompanied by a series of discussion guides for radio presenters to help them create stories and host discussions.

Sonke Gender Justice will distribute packages that include CDs as well as the guides to community radio stations. The three dramas are available as MP3s that may be downloaded free from www.cmfd.org

SAinfo reporter and CMFD