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Deputy President Paul Mashatile called on traditional leaders to help stop cultural practices that perpetuate violence against women and children.
Speaking at the launch of the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign in Mpumalanga, Mashatile denounced harmful acts like “child muthi killings, witchcraft burnings and many other practices.”
The 16 Days initiative, running from November 25 until December 10, aims to raise awareness about South Africa’s crisis of gender-based violence.
Mashatile argued that women’s poor socio-economic status leaves them vulnerable to exploitation.
“It is because of gender-based violence manifesting itself in these ways that water management and service investment are crucial,” he said. Providing clean water access can help lift rural women out of poverty.
The Deputy President urged all South Africans to say, “no to cultural practices that are harmful to women and children.”
Traditional leaders have significant influence over cultural norms. Their help in spreading messages against abuses like ukuthwala, the bride-napping of underage girls into forced marriages, could prove pivotal.
By calling out and ending unjust traditions that endanger women, leaders can set a powerful example. This is essential to shift mindsets and create a society rooted in true equality.