16 Days of Activism South Africa – Understanding and Contributing to the Campaign


Imagine a world where violence against women and children is not just a headline but a historical footnote. This is the vision that drives the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign. Running from November 25 to December 10, this campaign has become a pivotal moment in South Africa’s fight against gender-based violence (GBV). In this article, we delve into the essence of the 16 Days of Activism and its profound significance.

16 Days of Activism: The Campaign's Background

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign is part of a global United Nations campaign. It begins on November 25, the International Day of No Violence against Women, and concludes on December 10, Human Rights Day, symbolically linking violence against women and human rights and emphasizing that such violence is a violation of human rights.

Key Dates and Their Significance

  • 25 November: International Day of No Violence Against Women, marking the beginning of the campaign and spotlighting the urgent need to end violence against women and girls worldwide.
  • 29 November: International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, recognizing the courage and contribution of women who stand up for human rights and gender equality.
  • 1 December: World AIDS Day, emphasizing the intersection of gender-based violence and health, particularly in the context of HIV/AIDS.
  • 3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, who are often at higher risk of experiencing GBV.
  • 10 December: International Human Rights Day, concluding the campaign with a global call to respect and uphold human rights, including the right to live free from violence.

16 Days of Activism South Africa: Understanding the Local Context

In South Africa, a country grappling with high rates of GBV, the campaign transcends an annual event; it’s a clarion call for sustained action. The campaign is at the heart of the government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. This initiative integrates various efforts, collaborations, and partnerships across governmental and non-governmental sectors. It aims to create awareness, drive policy changes, and foster a national ethos of zero tolerance towards gender-based violence.

Empowering Actions Against Gender-Based Violence

  1. Learn and Share: Dive into understanding all about gender-based violence. It’s complex but crucial. Share what you learn with your friends and family. Here is a good resource from Safer Space to get a better understanding of GBV.  It starts by spreading awareness!
  2. Be There for Survivors: Sometimes, just being there to listen and support someone can make all the difference. If you know someone who’s been through it, just being a shoulder to lean on means the world. Encourage them gently to seek help if they need it, but remember, it’s their journey, and they’re in control. See some resources below that might help you or someone you know.
  3. Challenge the Norms: We’ve all heard those outdated sayings and seen unfair treatment, right? Let’s be the change-makers. Speak up against discrimination and stand up for equality in your circle. Every conversation counts, and you have the power to make people think and act differently. Caution: just ensure that your safety is prioritised.
  4. Create Safe Spaces: Whether it’s at your workplace, school, or even within our friend group, let’s make sure everyone feels safe and respected. Advocate for policies that protect everyone’s rights. Remember, a safe space is where we all thrive.
  5. Lend a Hand: There are so many phenomenal organisations out there fighting against gender-based violence. Have you ever thought about volunteering your time, donating money, or organizing a small fundraiser? Every bit helps, and together, our contributions can make a huge impact. Below are some organisations you can support.

Supporting South African NGOs During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Actively engage with organizations leading the battle against GBV by considering volunteering, donating, or even amplifying their mission through your networks. Your involvement, especially during the 16 Days of Activism and beyond, can create lasting change and bring us closer to ending gender-based violence. Some notable organizations include:

Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC):

  • Mission: Provides comprehensive services to women and children who are survivors of abuse, including crisis response, legal assistance, and job-skills training.
  • Phone: +27 21 633 5287
  • Website: www.saartjiebaartmancentre.org.za

TEARS Foundation:

  • Mission: Offers crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, and prevention education for those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.
  • Helpline: 1347355#
  • Website: www.tears.co.za

The Frida Hartley Shelter:

  • Mission: Offers shelter and support to homeless women and children who have survived neglect, abuse, trauma, and homelessness, and aids young homeless mothers.
  • Phone: 011 648 6005
  • Website: www.fridahartley.org

People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA):

  • Mission: Provides shelters, counseling, and legal advice to GBV survivors, and engages in advocacy, community outreach, and feminist research.
  • Phone: 011 642 4345
  • Website: www.powa.co.za

Rape Crisis Centre:

  • Mission: Supports survivors of rape and sexual assault through counselling, court support, and community prevention strategies, aiming to reduce trauma and encourage reporting.
  • Crisis Line: 021 447 9762
  • Website: rapecrisis.org.za

Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development:

  • Mission: Focuses on preventing gender violence and empowering women who have been abused. Provides counseling, shelter services, and engages in awareness and advocacy.
  • Phone: 011 854 5804/5
  • Website: www.nisaa.org.za


  • Mission: A coalition working to address sexual violence and improve legislation, supporting a diverse range of communities, including those with disabilities and the LGBTI community.
  • Phone: 021 447 1467
  • Website: shukumisa.org.za

SOS Numbers: Essential Contacts for GBV Support

If you or someone you know needs to report gender-based violence or seek help, these numbers and websites can be lifesaving. Keep them accessible:

SAPS Crime Stop:

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre:

Stop Gender Violence Helpline:

Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA):

  • Phone: (011) 975 7107
  • Website: FAMSA 


National Crisis Line (Lifeline):

Having these numbers and websites at your fingertips can make a critical difference in urgent situations. Remember, reaching out for help is a brave and necessary step in the journey to safety and healing.


The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence serves as a reminder that the fight against GBV is ongoing and requires our collective effort. In South Africa, where the impact of GBV is deeply felt, this campaign provides a platform for change, advocacy, and empowerment. Let us stand together in solidarity, advocating for a society where safety, respect, and equality are the norms, not only during these 16 days but every day.


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Palesa Mashinini

Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.


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