Mandela Day workshop explores gender violence

Post to Parliament founder Emily O’ Ryan speaking at the gender violence workshop.

Primary school pupils used art to explore what they learnt about gender violence during a workshop, on Mandela Day, in Mowbray, this week.

About 30 Grade 6s and 7s from Steenberg Primary School as well as four young women from the Bo-Kaap-based Future Female Foundation attended the workshop, at Bertha House, on Monday.

Organised by Post to Parliament (P2P), a non-profit organisation, the workshop dealt with consent, relationships, power, boundaries, conflict and abuse.

P2P was conceived from a campaign, run by the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation in August last year, that saw the public’s written reflections on gender-based violence sent to parliament.

At the end of last year, P2P broke away from the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation and became an organisation in its own right, providing education on GBV, according to its founder, Emily O’ Ryan.

Ms O’Ryan said their goal was to have gender-based violence (GBV) education taught as part of school life-skills lessons.

The drawings from this week’s workshop would be shared with the Western Cape Education Department along with P2P’s ideas on including GBV in the curriculum, said Ms O’Ryan.

Steenberg Primary School teacher Glenda Samuels said the workshop could help to shape pupils’ behaviour.

“We have pupils from different backgrounds attending this workshop, and if there are some pupils that were bullies, this workshop can help to teach them how to change that behaviour.”

Shandy Smith, the operations manager at Future Female Foundation, said the workshop should be held in various communities.

“Many kids have not been conditioned properly to learn about important concepts like consent and it’s important for them to learn that they don’t need to be in abusive conditions.”

The Future Female Foundation helps survivors of GBV, teaching skills such as sewing and bead work to help them earn a living.

Visit P2P on Facebook and Instagram or email post2parliament@gmail.com for more information about the organisation.

The youth participating in the workshop.
From left are P2P member Kristin Julius; Future Female Foundation members Amina Citegetse, Shaniel Losper, Janay Kleinsmith and Mickhayla van Wyk; and the foundation’s operations manager, Shandy Smith.