Artscape strongly condemns the ongoing violence against women, children and the LGBTQI community.  As a democratic South Africa we presumed that, given our civil liberties and Bill of Rights, we would be completely and entirely free to live our lives guided by our founding document, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.  However and sadly, we still face  a host of challenges in these most vulnerable groups spurred by sexism and some misinterpreted cultural and religious values.

Women are judged on what they wear; lambasted for defying traditional roles – both “African” and “Western”. They are vilified for exerting their guaranteed rights, while many are subjected to violence, partner abuse, rape and femicide – all vile deeds encouraged by misogynist norms that remain deeply entrenched in society.  In the past few weeks and months South Africa has seen the femicide scourge continue to rear its ugly head.

“Artscape will continue to do its part in being the protective voice and space of many women, children and the LGBTQI community. Our company policies are strongly reflective of our non-tolerance of such violent acts and harbouring or protecting abusers. We are a safe shelter for all women, children and the LGBQTI community” says H.R.H. Princess Celenhle Dlamini, Chairperson of Artscape.

South Africa is currently amidst the worst global pandemic of the century (COVID-19), which has added to the health and economical strain of many citizens. In addition, victims face historical challenges that include the slow arm of justice that has failed victims, leading to their deaths.

Thus we need the strong support of our judiciary and legal pillars to assist in tackling GBV. We also need the support of business, the religious community, cultural institutions, men and society in general to collectively tackle the scourge of GBV.  It will be the collective continued resistance against the current mountain we face that will end this scourge.

Artscape, will continuously seek to keep this message alive through thought-provoking productions and programmes such as the annual Artscape Women and Humanities festival in order to conscientise society through the medium of the Arts.

We applaud the strength of survivors, pray for all currently affected and mourn all those whom have passed away because of this ruthless attack on our society.

In support of government, we hope that together as a country we will find a solution so that women and children can live in peace without fearing for their lives.