MUT reaffirms its stand against GBV through Black Thursday campaign

Press Release Statement                                                                             19 February 2020

For immediate release

MUT reaffirms its stand against GBV through Black Thursday campaign

Mangosuthu University of Technology will host the weekly Black Thursday against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) on Thursday, 20 February 2020, to raise awareness against the scourge and to empower students with information to prevent and report GBV cases. The campaign, which runs every Thursday from 12h00 – 13h00 at the University’s Anniversary Lane sees speakers share information about different aspects of GBV and various forms of help.

This week’s theme is “Walking in her shoes”, which requires participants (male and female) to come dressed in all black with high heels to symbolise being in the female victim’s shoes. Last week participants paid tribute to victims of GBV in an event themed “You are not forgotten”, when a speaker from Thuthuzela Care Centre in Umlazi Township’s Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, shared information on what GBV is and how to report it both to the University and to the South African Police Services.

The campaign is part of the University’s efforts to reaffirm its position against GBV and to bring perpetrators to the book. Last year, the MUT Senate adopted a stand against GBV and xenophobia, which was communicated in a statement by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza.

“Gender-Based Violence has no place in our university and society. Condemnation needs to be constant and consistent, and perpetrators must be prosecuted. We are committed to doing everything in our power to eliminate the scourge of GBV within our university and to support those who have been affected,” said Dr Malaza.

The MUT Student Counselling Services has intensified its efforts to encourage students who are affected by abuse to visit their offices for professional help. The University also has a telephone number to report abuse, and cases reported through this number lend in the VC’s and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Resources and Planning’s offices for their attention. The University’s Protection Services has also reached out to students and staff encouraging them to report cases through the phone or in their protection body’s offices.

“It is unacceptable that 2771 women were killed in the 2018/2019 statistical year. We should be outraged that in our country women are five times more likely to be killed due to GBV. We should all lose sleep over the fact that 41,583 rapes were reported in 2018/19, that is an average of 114 rapes per day reported. MUT is ready to fight this culture of abuse,” explained Dr Malaza.

The campaign against GBV comes at a time when the University is still mourning the loss of Zolile Khumalo, who was allegedly murdered by her then boyfriend. The trial of Khumalo’s alleged murderer resumes in court for the verdict on Monday, 2 March 2020.

“Our University is deeply devastated by the loss of any staff or students, more so when such a life is cut short in such a violent manner. On 2 March 2020, our students and staff will march from Lonsdale Hotel (Residence) on Pixley KaSeme Street, through Stalwart Simelane Street to the Durban Magistrate’s Court, to demand justice for our slain student,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications at MUT.

Members of the media are encourage to contact Bheki Hlophe (031 819 7195 or should they wish to attend the event or arrange interviews.