Young men from the top nine boys’ schools in Gauteng have united to combat GBV, Femicide and other causes by creating awareness, raising funds and education.
Gauteng, South Africa (19 June 2020) – Gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide have been thrust into the spotlight once again thanks to a spike in reports by mainstream media, angry South Africans demanding answers and President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing it in his latest national address.
A few weeks ago, the deputy head boy from St John’s College Academy, Daanyaal Ballim reached out to share an initiative that he and his fellow prefects have been working on. The young men started the BoysForAction initiative.
BoysForAction is a committee of Headboys and Deputies aimed at tackling the social issues faced by our country through education, creating awareness and fundraising. It is a solely run boy school initiative which includes eight of the major schools in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
These are the schools:
- St John’s College,
- St Stithians College,
- David’s Marist Inanda,
- King Edwards VII School,
- Jeppe High School for Boys,
- Parktown Boys High School,
- Pretoria Boys’ High School,
- St Alban’s College,
- St Benedict’s College
It was started by Daanyaal Ballim (Second Prefect of St John’s College) and Wanagwa Nyasulu (Executive Head of Student Wellness of St Stithians college). They have been doing all sorts of good work surrounding gender-based violence, and during lockdown have teamed up with NGOs to assist with feeding schemes.
“The months of September and August in 2019 were some of the hardest times that our country has faced. Femicide and Gender-Based Violence as well as Xenophobia plagued our nation and left it mourning and in turmoil. Many stood up and lifted their voices against these crimes and the nation, as well as the rest of the world, united to stop the ongoing acts of violence against women. Campaigns such as #IAmNext, #KeepThatEnergy and #IAmTrash rose to assist in the fight and proved to make an impact through the use of various social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter as well as organizing protests.
In this time of crisis, it taught us that the only way to fight against social injustices is to unite and make an impact by either, making use of social media to create awareness, organizing protests and petitions, doing fundraisers amongst other things. It’s all about taking action and doing something to help the cause. This is where #boysforaction comes in. It is a boys schools driven initiative aimed at tackling social issues faced by the country by educating, creating awareness and fundraising. It is multifaceted as it deals with all kinds of social issues, be it xenophobia, gender-based violence, climate change (natural disaster) etc. #boysforaction acts as a platform for the boys’ schools involved to take constructive and impactful action. Hence, we intend for this to be a movement (hashtag) that will remain in use even after we have left high school.
We are all privileged schools and being cognizant of the position we are in, is something we find very important. Hence, we want to use that privilege and the resources and social influence we have for the greater good.”
Before the lockdown started, the young men wanted to do a sanitary pad drive, showcasing the importance of access to adequate sanitary ware for young women wanting to attend school. They wanted to make a real impact in their community. What clearer message for men, then a group of young men aged 16 to 18 collecting sanitary pads for women. It is powerful stuff and could very well be the shift needed in South Africa.
The boys explained why they are keeping the initiative in boys’ schools only.
“With regards to issues such as Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, it would be more powerful having boys take a stand against this and hold each other as well as other boys accountable for their actions that feed into GBV. Reason being that Boys schools are known to have toxic environments where toxic masculinity is bred, however, if we have boys taking action, boys educating other boys on GBV and boys calling each other out, then these toxic environments become safe spaces where boys learn to respect women, hence solving a part of the GBV issue”
While the class of 2020 have been unable to action their plans. There are plans in place that can be adopted by the class of 2021 or 2022 and many years to come.
Addressing these issues really does start with boys, young men and adult men. We are so proud to see initiatives like this bloom and see young men taking these issues seriously. Daanyaal Ballim is the role model of the next generation!