Schoolgirls dance to ‘break chain’ of violence

2013-02-15 00:00

WHILE many people celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday, millions of people around the world took a stand against gender violence in the form of dance.

About 100 pupils in grades 8 to 12, from Epworth High School’s Interact club, were among people from over 200 countries who performed the “Break the Chain” flash mob, the One Billion Rising Movement’s dance anthem.

Initiated by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, known for her play The Vagina Monologues and her organisation, ­V-Day, the movement campaigns for an end to violence and for justice and gender equality.

The girls, mostly dressed in black, performed the four-minute dance routine for an audience of teachers and pupils, who cheered loudly. Their performance will be uploaded on YouTube.

Grade 11 pupil Bongekile Dlamini said she decided to participate because she felt strongly about the abuse of women.

“I felt it would be good to show support. We are standing up against abuse,” she said, and she was very proud of what they had done.

Thando Makhaye, also in Grade 11, said: “I thought that if I take part in this, I’d make a difference.”

Debbie Olsen, Epworths’s interact co-ordinator, said this was the school’s moment of solidarity with the world and it showed the pupils’ concern for the plight of women and children around the globe.

At Nizamia Islamic School, guest speaker Shafinaaz Hassim, an author and sociology lecturer at Witwatersrand University, encouraged women to speak out against violence.

She said rape was not about sex, but the abuse of power.

Asked what made men rape, she said it was psychotic behaviour and there was nothing normal about it.

“If we don’t speak against it, we say it’s okay,” said Hassim, the author of SoPhia, a novel about domestic violence.

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