Thato Molosankwe is attempting to raise awareness about women abuse, rape and femicide by embarking on a 42 177km walk, called Moral Regeneration Walk, covering 49 African countries on foot.
The social activist began his journey on Mandela Day this year where he walked all nine provinces. Now he’s taking his trek across the continent, where he’ll reach Cairo, Egypt in 2028.
Speaking to DRUM about his expedition, Thato says the “scourge of immorality” inspired him to embark on the walk.
He adds that he wants the focus to be not just on his walk, but about educating men to change their behaviour towards women.
“The abuse and rape and killing of women is getting out of hand so this walk is about regeneration,” he says. “I walk to different towns and contact organisations to give a spotlight to gender-based violence.”
Thato adds that along with holding workshops to denounce violence, they also encourage women to point out their abusers, force them to go to the police station to lay a case and hope the perpetrators are brought to justice.
“We take these men to the police stations so it can be put on the record that we, as the community, spoke to them on the issue of domestic violence.”
Thato points to a decay of morality as the reason behind gender-based crime, and gives his thoughts on this.
“Religion is the reason we hate one another so much. Capitalism is the reason we hate one another so much, and politics,” he says.
Speaking specifically on religion, Thato says it has created an environment where different denominations can’t “sit with one another”.
“As a ZCC [Zion Christian Church] person, they don’t speak well with the born-again. The born-again doesn’t speak well with the Catholic. This thing is instilled in us when we are baptised as children. It teaches us that we are better than the other.”
Thato first began his activism in 2014, after hearing about how rife domestic violence is within communities.
As someone who also suffered abuse, and became a voice for others, he hopes his commitment will inspire others to change their ways.
“Growing up in violence should encourage you to fight against it. I want to use moral regeneration to change people.”