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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Lindiwe Zulu’s ‘not all officials’ is the ‘not all men’ debate all over again

No minister, not all, only enough to be a problem.

The Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) resumed today, and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu commented about holding officials accountable.

Zulu was also asked about the progress of her department in implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBV and the progress of the Command Centre.

Lindiwe Zulu at GBVF Summit

GBV Command Centre

She said the centre assisted nearly 185 000 clients during the Covid-19 lockdown, which was a stark increase against the 61 573 clients reached in the 2019/20 year.

“The GBV Command Centre continues to provide gender-based violence victims with holistic services, such as psychosocial counselling.”

The department has also deployed 100 ambassadors to raise awareness and educate members of the public, particularly in hot spot regions.

To get to the root causes of GBVF in South Africa, Zulu said “principals need to go house to house, street to street and community to community”.

ALSO READ: ‘SA men responsible for ending barbaric acts’ – Ramaphosa

‘Not all officials’ are trash

However, not everyone agreed with the tone of Zulu’s address when she said: “Let me make it straight right now, not all officials behave like that [act unresponsive to women’s plight]”.

No minister, not all, only enough to be a problem, but I digress.

She then added: “If you come [those officials] you would know what to do. They need to be reported, they need to be taken to task”.

“I know those officials around me, they walk around the clock, and they do the best they can.”

ALSO READ: GBVF Summit: ‘Boys club’ in churches promote violence

It’s the ‘not all men’ saga all over again

It sounds a lot like ‘not all men’ debacle all over again.

The phrase ‘men are trash’ began trending in 2017 when Karabo Mokoena was murdered by her then-boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe.

South African women have used the phrase since then to highlight the abuse women face at the hands of their boyfriends, brothers, friends, uncles, etc.

But then a counter-narrative formed: the ‘not all men’ thing. An easy way to explain these hashtags: Let’s use snakes as an example.

‘Not all men’ versus ‘not all snakes’

We know snakes are dangerous, but some are not venomous at all.

Yet, you never hear people say “only some snakes are dangerous”. People just say, “snakes are dangerous”.

Even if a snake is presented to you and someone assures you it is harmless, you would still be uneasy around it, wouldn’t you?

That’s how women feel when around men.

We know you aren’t all dangerous, unfortunately, you don’t have a glowing halo floating above your head, setting you apart from the venomous ones.

There’s more to say about this hashtag, but I’ll refrain from going down that rabbit hole today.

That said, if you’re a man reading this and you feel the need to tell me how you haven’t assaulted a woman, don’t catcall women, and don’t make rape jokes, ask yourself this first:

  • Do you keep quiet when your friends catcall a woman?
  • Do you laugh along (or remain silent) when they make rape jokes?
  • Have you ever excused a friend’s violent behaviour?
  • Do you insist on getting a woman’s number even if she initially said ‘no’?
  • Have you ever victim- or slut-shamed a survivor?
    • This could include questioning their choice of clothing or what time they choose to leave their house

If you’ve answered yes to any of those, sorry boet, I have bad news for you.

NOW WATCH: Ministers roasted at Presidential GBVF Summit

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Gender-based Violence (GBV) Lindiwe Zulu