The measures to combat and eradicate Gender-Based-Violence (GBV) are prioritized and implemented continuously at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The determination to heighten awareness pertaining to this social ill is compounded by the fact that this form of violence occurs on a daily basis and is steadily becoming a big threat to social stability. For this reason, the SABC continuously use its programming and Corporate Social responsibility Initiatives (CSI) to vigorously fight GBV.
The recent report released by the World Health Organization in 2021 states that ‘nearly one in three women have been abused in their lifetime. Narrowing these statistics to the South African context, the latest Crime Statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) indicate a spike in crimes of rape and domestic violence. The statistics reveal that between July and September 2021, 9,556 people, most of whom were women, were raped, and this demonstrates 7% more than in the previous reporting period. It is further revealed that out of the 73 000 assault cases reported, domestic violence cases account for more than 13 000.
Therefore, the SABC is committed to continuously embark on targeted campaigns through various on-air programmes, corporate social media platforms and the support to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to fight GBV. The SABC, as the primary carrier of public content and messaging plays a central role in combating GBV through its programming which heightens awareness and consciousness. The SABC’s agenda to eradicate this scourge is embedded in its education mandate, and the Corporation capitalizes on this through its various programmes across its Radio, TV, and digital platforms on a regular basis.
SABC radio portfolio has embarked on an awareness campaign to ensure that messages against GBV are widely communicated with the South African citizens in the languages of their choice. Some of the key dedicated ongoing broadcasts include Motsweding FM’s Breakfast show, Di Rage which has a feature on Tuesdays at 09h22 to discuss GBV related matters. The continuous provision of interview slots to raise awareness of GBV are also prioritized across all SABC radio stations. During the 16 days of Activism period interviews with experts, activists, government representatives as well as the survivors were conducted. Some key highlights include the SAfm’s interview with GBV Monitor South Africa Founder and Executive Director Omogolo Taunyane-Mnguni on the work that is done to elevate national conversations regarding GBV. Radio 2000 profiled the award-winning film – ‘We Are Dying Here’ which focuses on gender-based violence and Lotus FM interviewed various representatives from People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) and the South African Society of Psychiatrist.
In delivering important messages of this nature, radio programming becomes diverse and not confined in studios but extended to more personalised broadcasts which are conducted outside a normal studio. This year, Lesedi FM hosted a prayer session at Maranatha church in Bloemfontein and Thobela FM conducted a virtual broadcast in Polokwane.
SABC Video and Entertainment division also incorporated awareness messages on its programming with leading shows such as Skeem Saam, Uzalo and Generations. To emphasise the need for continuous public awareness, SABC Education in partnership with the Department of Basic Education will be launching a new 13-part series, Breaking the Silence which will broadcast on SABC from Monday, the 3rd of January 2022 at 16h30. This series will tackle a range of social challenges that affect the education of young people of school going age. The salient issues that will be discussed include GBV, early unintended pregnancy, HIV infections and drug and substance abuse.
The SABC is not only committed to fight GBV through its programming, but the organization has the social responsibility through Corporate Investment initiatives to work with relevant stakeholders to jointly spread the messages to fight this corrosive epidemic. The Corporation has focused on supporting Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) that support the SABC CSI pillars that address health, education, orphans, vulnerable children, GBV and disability related- issues. The SABC’s support in this regard is in the form of providing funds and assisting with the Public Service Announcements to spread the messages against GBV as wide as possible. The SABC recently hosted its inaugural Charity Golf Day as part of its efforts to combat GBV by donating the proceeds to Yokhuselo Haven in the Eastern Cape Province.
Meaningful partnerships with various stakeholders whose priority is to intensify the fight against GBV are being established, and such partnership is the recent one between SABC CSI and LifeLine organization. Lifeline is currently working closely with Lesedi FM through the station’s calendar for 2022 in which awareness messages such as “Kings protect, they don’t harm”, “violence is a weapon for the weak” are being featured on the calendar to emphasise that the society should continuously stand against GBV on a daily basis.
As the country’s only public service broadcaster, the SABC reiterates its commitment to fulfil its constitutional mandate of delivering content that is intended to restore dignity of the South African citizens. For this reason, the SABC will continue to ensure that all its efforts and campaigns targeted at fighting GBV continue during the festive season and beyond as the mandate to educate citizens is not seasonal but indefinitely.