Never to be silenced again

A large crowd walked the streets of Stellenbosch on Wednesday in a “slut walk” organised by the Metanoia residence house committee. The walk ended with a gathering at the Rooiplein where people were given the chance to voice their opinions and concerns.

The event attracted female students from different faculties, races and religious backgrounds.

The students declared that they would no longer be silenced about matters of sexual violence.

Newly elected SRC chairperson, Nomzamo Ntombela, was also present and gave a short address to the crowd. 

Some male students were present, including Bevin Davids of the SRC.

Davids, who was asked to say something about changes the male leadership would make, was heckled by the crowd.

Carli Smith from Cape Town, said: “Feminism is for women and for empowering women but it’s also a space for men, but a space for men to listen. Therefore men have to be allies within the space and being an ally means not dominating the space, it means not making the space about you, or telling your lived experience, or telling us how you feel in a certain situation because in many cases, most of the time women are the ones that are objectified…so when it comes to a safe space for women, men have to be there to listen.”

Large turn-out for Metanoia Slut Walk 2017. PHOTO: WELILE MAKENA

Lillian Notayi, one of the organisers and house committee member of Women Empowerment at Metanoia residence said: “Stellenbosch is such a bubble and we pretend like everything is fine when it isn’t, we pretend like rape doesn’t happen, we pretend like rapists are black people from Kayamandi or Cloetesville but anyone can be a rapist and students go to class with people who have assaulted them and this university doesn’t take rape and sexual assault seriously and so I just wanted to shock this campus and actually let them know that things are happening.”

The purpose of the “slut walk” was for it to be a conversation starter she added.– Welile Makena and Vonani Ngomana