Mpumalanga community scores goals against GBV

Sizwe Sibiya

The community of Schoemansdal in Mpumalanga came together over the weekend to parade and play soccer to raise awareness about gender-based violence (GBV).

This comes after a 37-year-old woman with disabilities from the community was allegedly raped and burnt on her private parts by a neighbour last month.

Activist and rape survivor Lydia Sono of the Lydia Sono Foundation said the sports event gave them an opportunity to educate the youth about equality and GBV. 

She said she worked in partnership with other organisations and a local youth sports committee.

They marched around the community, sending a message to every member before the first game.

“Young boys learned that what was happening in our community was not normal. It’s not ok to rape or inflict pain on a woman or one’s partner,” she said.

“To girls, we stressed the importance of breaking the silence, because many have been abused but are not talking about it.”

Lydia, who was raped along with her partner six years ago for being lesbians, said being an activist was not easy. 

The Unity Cup Soccer Tournament, which was played by both boys and girls to promote equality among the genders, was won by Harmony Academy FC.