Adapted from a speech given by Alvin Reddy @Fundisa Abantu Event 27/11/2021
Good morning, to the organisers, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen and all learners and participants.
I speak to you this morning on behalf of the executive and members of the Durban Africa Sports Club. As a sports club, we stand solidly behind the campaign against Gender-Based Violence as well as the 16 Days of Activism campaign. However, our firm belief goes beyond the 16 days campaign.
The Durban Africa Sports club was founded on a need to serve the underprivileged and the community at large via the interaction and inherent harmony in team sports. At this point, DASC focuses on soccer development with plans to increase its portfolio of sporting codes over the next few years.
Founded in 2007 DASC (Milo) started as part of a soccer development program that engaged over 4000 learners from 70 schools. During this program, it was evident that was there was a real need amongst the young underprivileged and lower economic groups for nurturing and developing of their sporting talent.
Durban Africa believes in empowerment. We believe that empowering our underprivileged children and children from disadvantaged backgrounds will contribute towards improving their communities at large. By empowering our male and female players in the correct social etiquette and the manner that they treat each other whether on the sports field or off it will contribute towards the overall development of that player's character and personality. Studies have indicated that there is a direct correlation between involvement in and a reduction of the potential of players becoming involved in drugs, sex, crime and gang-related behaviour.
The theme for 2021 is "The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke -- 16 Days of Activism-- moving from awareness to accountability". As a sports club, DASC will continue to be involved in schools. By reaching out to our learners and encouraging them to change their behaviour through sports, we believe we will go a long way towards reducing GBV.
As an educator, I have come across numerous cases of GBV starting at schools. The majority of our female learners will fall victim to GBV. This is a frightening statistic. In the modern technological area, violence is not physical. It is psychological, where the victim's self-worth is destroyed on social media. Sadly, males are not the only perpetrators.
When we come across cases at school where a male learner assaults a female learner it is very rarely classified as Gender-Based Violence. We rely on the school's code of conduct which indicates that the learner has transgressed against the policy by fighting with a fellow learner. We follow the procedure set up a tribunal, conduct a disciplinary hearing and the male learner is ultimately slapped on the wrist and told not to do it again. He may be sentenced to community service and an anger management course with a social worker. The school receives a report a few weeks later to confirm that the learner has attended the course or completed community service. Whether the child's behaviour and personality have genuinely changed remains next time.
l am not saying that our schools are war zones. In fact, 95% of our children are good, decent law-abiding citizens. It's that 5% with the deviant behaviour that I worry about.
That is why Durban Africa is reaching out to schools. We want to empower our children to become better adults, better community members and better leaders.
Education is the single most vital element in combating poverty, empowering women, protecting children from hazardous and exploitative labour and sexual exploitation, promoting human rights and democracy, protecting the environment and influencing population growth. Education is a path towards international peace and security.
Kofi Anan. Secretary-General of the United Nations (Human Rights Watch, 2001)
At Durban Africa, we take this one step further. We believe that Education combined with Sports and an effective Life Skills programme will lead to the holistic development of the child. This in turn will lead to the child developing values with a secure foundation and ultimately becoming a valuable member of society. We don't only focus on the average child but also on children with special educational needs. Therefore we are actively involved with the West Park school. Our club runs sporting programmes for them. We believe that all children are valuable.
As a club, we do not have all the answers to GBV. But we urge you to become an activist at your school community or place of work. Expose inequality. Do not protect abusers because of the what will the people say syndrome or because it's not my business. Teach our children about the value of treating everyone as equals.
In tackling gender violence in schools, a whole school approach involving management, teachers, pupils and the curriculum is necessary to ensure that the messages are consistent and reinforced by teachers and pupils alike. Teachers can be key instruments for change. The teacher training curriculum will need to prepare teachers for such a role. At Durban Africa, we will promote all initiatives to ensure equity and a fundamental change in the way society views gender-based violence. We will try and do it through education, sports, love and care one school at a time.
Durban Africa Sports Club, Executive members, BABES GOVENDER