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“Keep our women safe” demand primary school learners

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School protests against gender-based violence

Photo of learners with placards
Learners from St Augustine’s Primary School in Port Elizabeth protested in the city centre against violence against women and children. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane
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Over 200 learners from St Augustine’s Primary School in Port Elizabeth stood in protest against gender-based violence outside the City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. The Grade 1 to 7 learners carried placards which read: “No means no”, “The future is female”, “Keep our women safe” and “Womandla!”

School principal Sydney Cairncross said teachers had felt a need to take action. “Our teachers felt there’s a need to make a difference and take action today, where our children can have a silent protest against this violence.”

Grade seven learner Ilithakazi Maratshula, 13, said everybody should say no to violence. “We no longer walk freely. We have to be at home at 6pm. We can’t wear certain clothes, because people see them as inappropriate,” she said.

Another grade seven learner, Sibusiso Ntoni, 13, said some children were not coping at school because of violence. “When women are being beaten, it strikes my heart.”

His classmate, Langelihle Mkubukeli, 13, said when he watches the television news, he feels very sad. “It’s very, very bad news that we see. Men are disappointing us, because they are supposed to be protecting women.”

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