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Gender Based Violence (GBV) and the need to end it was the theme of the opening ceremony of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the Zwartkloof Private Resort in Bela Bela on Monday.

Led by NSA President Cecilia Molokwane, the players chanted “We say no to Gender Based Violence” and then were entertained by 2018 SA Idols Top Eight singer Loyiso Gijana, whose song “Madoda Sabelani” (Men respond) has taken South Africa by storm.

SPAR Marketing Director Charleen Gochen said SPAR was committed to the eradication of GBV.

“In October, our Chief Executive, Graham O’Connor, committed himself and the SPAR Group to funding practical solutions to address the impact of GBV on our society,” she said. “In keeping with this commitment, SPAR has partnered with Lifeline and the National Prosecuting Authority to create awareness of GBV, provide counselling for victims of GBV and improve the effectiveness of the government – supported Ithuthuzela care centres.

“We are very proud to be involved in addressing the negative impact of this scourge and we call upon everyone to play their part in eradicating this social evil,” said Gochen.

Gijana said he was spurred into action when a school friend, 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana, was raped and bludgeoned to death in a Cape Town post office in August last year.

“I thought to myself, this has to stop,” said Gijana. “Men are responsible and it is men who have to do something about it. Being a musician, my response was to write a song calling men to action against GBV.

“It has had a wonderful response, with more than a million hits on YouTube.

“Many men have contacted me asking what they could do, and I was part of a men’s anti-GBV protest at the Tshwane Metropolitan Council.”

Gijana said he would spread the message against GBV whenever and wherever he could.

“It’s still with us and it’s because many men have seen their fathers behave in the same way. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle and it has to be stopped.”

#SPARNationalChamps #WeAreAllIn #StopGBV #GBVmustEND
📸 Reg Caldecott