Soweto derby must honour all victims of rape and gender-based violence

Numsa calls on Pirates and Chiefs to use the Soweto derby to join the fight against Rape and Gender-based violence
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) calls on the Soweto giants – Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates – to use this weekend’s forthcoming Soweto derby to join the fight against rape and gender-based violence ravaging our society.

The Derby will be taking place a day after the whole country and billions across the world commemorate the International Day of Women on Friday 08 March 2013

We strongly believe that soccer should not be detached from daily struggles or challenges faced by our people, given its power to forge unity, solidarity and peace amongst the people.

These ugly incidents of rape and gender-based violence bedevilling our society is a reflection of the deep-seated patriarchal, chauvinistic, sexist and unequal power relations between men and women in post-apartheid and modern day Capitalist South Africa. Accompanying these rotten realities is the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality threatening the moral fibre of our society.

Both teams command massive support across the length and breadth of our country and they stars are marvelled by millions of our people. We see the Soweto derby as a strategic platform to rally our people in stemming the tide against rape and gender-based violence.

Soccer remains the collective property of the downtrodden and the victims of rape and gender-based violence from working class communities, including in the countryside, are ardent supporters of these revered Soweto giants.

We call on both teams, including the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to be agents of this progressive call, as opposed to chasing gate-takings profits. It is well known that soccer played a prominent role during the struggle against apartheid and should continue being in the forefront of daily struggles faced by our communities.

Furthermore, we call on both team players to wear Black Armbands in honour of all the victims of rape and gender-based violence, including the many kids that have lost their lives as a result of this cruel and barbaric deed.

Only the decisive and united action of the people’s formations, including church, stokvel, choral and sport bodies, will ameliorate this situation which has resulted in our country having one of the highest incidents of rape in the world.

Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson – 081 011 1137