- E786,570 goes to SWAGAA and E350,000 to Phumelela
- Declare GBV National Emergency – SWAGAA
Mbabane – FNB Eswatini has made a generous donation in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The financial institution, through its FNB Eswatini Foundation made the GBV sponsorship handover to SWAGAA and Phumelela Foundation at Malandela’s Amphitheatre.
Announcing the donation, FNB Eswatini Foundation Chairman Dennis Mbingo said, “E1.136 million is being disbursed (E786,570 to SWAGAA and E350,000 to Phumelela). We are trusting people who have committed their lives to educating all of us, and helping the most vulnerable amongst us, to use the combined value of E1,136,507 to help further our joint cause. We sincerely acknowledge the work that SWAGAA and Phumelela do each day to try and create a society that will make GBV history. We also look forward to working with other organizations that are pursuing the same aim, and especially those that are focusing on us Men, and Younger Males.”
Mbingo added that it is extremely hard for one to imagine any liSwati who has not been impacted by matters related to GBV.
“I am told that at SWAGAA alone in 2021, a total of 7 000 GBV cases were reported, showing a harrowing increase of 350 per cent from the previous year. Local statistics also show
that one in three women are violated before the age of 18. And this in an age where we claim better education, better connection, better awareness. We have friends, loved ones, fellow members of our communities who have experienced its trauma, or even lost their lives through direct attacks or indirectly through mental and physical illnesses triggered by sexual assaults that happened decades earlier,” he said.
The chairman said GBV is always life threatening, even if that life may not be lost or damaged immediately. He said there is nothing like casual or light GBV and they have to get everyone of them at some point, men included, to raise the standard.
“None of us have a right to threaten or take a life, regardless of what offence a female or male partner has caused. The power to take life should be left to the one who gives it. The essence of love is free will and in its absence, what remains akusilo lutsandvo. Kute umuntfu wemuntfu, umuntfu waJehova. Sitsandziwe sonkhe, saphindze saliwa sonkhe, kodvwa siyachubeka siphile. Kwaliwa does not make us lesser men. Despite the fact that the needless loss of life should be prevented at all costs, the lesser GBV issues that cushion its seriousness must also be dealt with. Every victim is someone’s daughter, sister, mother, cousin, friend, or colleague. Ultimately, kusifaka sonkhe.”
Mbingo highlighted that in 2021, after months of debate on how they can help the greater society in dealing with this crisis meaningfully, they met with some of the organisations to understand what is their understanding of the causes for this crisis, and how organisations and individuals can assist. There are other organisations that would like to contribute to this national campaign. This is, hopefully, just the beginning. GBV affects all.
“From fellow private sector colleagues who have and continue to do what they can to lend their voices to this cause – so to Corporate Eswatini, we say thank you for your example so far and may many other corporates support anti-GBV programs and groups. To the Government of Eswatini and especially the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, for having been consistent on this matter through the years, especially under the guidance of Babe Themba Masuku. Special recognition, however, goes to the women and men who help to manage these cases everyday – in the Police Service, in the Emergency Services, and those in the organizations that have to clean up after our societal ills by helping victims everyday.
Masuku’s representative, Under Secretary Hlobisile Dlamini said in recent years, the government has witnessed a sharp increase in reported cases of GBV perpetrated against women and children.
She said, “It is then that the government saw it fit to enact laws, develop policies and other strategic documents to address this scourge. This includes the enactment of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act, 2012 and the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act 2018 to ensure the prevention and protection of Emaswati, women, men, boys and girls from harm and other acts of domestic violence.
In 2016, the government with support from UNICEF, undertook a study on the Drivers of Violence against children. This study revealed that Age (common among children), Gender, Disability, orphanhood among other factors are the major drivers of violence against children. Furthermore, in 2019 the government in collaboration with the University of Eswatini carried out a Situational Analysis of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Eswatini. This study reported that Jealousy, Desire for revenge, economic deprivation or loss of belongings, witnessing abuse or being a survivor of violence, i.e., growing up in a violent household may lead to anger and ill-heartedness and eventually result to a violent personality. Alcohol and drug abuse, gender inequality among other were major drivers of violence.
SWAGAA Executive Director Nonhlanhla Dlamini said at least six murder cases had been reported since the murder case of their colleague in NERCHA’s Shiselweni Regional Manager Sharon Neves. The director said they attended to nearly 700 clients on a monthly basis and the numbers have been increased by the introduction of their tollfree number due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She called on government to declare GBV a National Emergency.
Phumelela Director Katrin Lehmann said GBV was a national emergency and has developed to a pandemic. She said they witnessed an increment on men coming to seek their services such as counselling.
A GBV survivor, Simphiwe Magagula, shared an emotional story on how she was a victim of sexual violation when growing up in the hands of family members. She thanked SWAGGA for helping her deal with her situation.