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Unite Against Violence - SA soccer club gets involved
Moroka Swallows
May 23, 2002

One of South Africa’s top soccer clubs, Moroka Swallows is actively backing campaigns directed at ending violence against women and children.

Moroka Swallows will be adding the white ribbon, an international symbol showing a commitment to ending violence against women and children, to all its soccer kit for the coming season. (The white ribbon was devised by Canadian men in 1991 following the killing of 14 women at a Montreal university by a crazed gunman, it has now come to represent the international symbol of no-violence to women)

Director Gavin Bernstein says, "As South African men we have become concerned by the frequent reports of women and children being beaten, raped and murdered. This is not what South African society is about. Most men don’t harm women.

"But a perception is being created that South African men are monsters.

"We want to change that perception. We want to see South African men unite to stop violence against women and children. In fact all violence. It is only a few who are destroying the image of our country. It is not the South African way to beat and rape women and children. It is wrong."

Godfrey Gxowa, public relations manager for Moroka Swallows said: "The most powerful and respected men in our culture have spoken out against those who harm women and children – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Rabbi Harris and others. We want others to join them. We want to encourage all men to not just speak out against violence directed at women and children, but to act to stop it.

"If you know of a man beating his wife, speak to him about stopping. If you know of a person raping women or children, report him to the authorities."

Goalkeeper Wendell Robertson added: "A man who does not respect himself, cannot respect others. We want to show the world that the miracle did not end in April, 1994, when we ended the violence of apartheid. South Africa is a country of many miracles - now we are going to end sexual violence and we believe that by doing that we will see the beginning of the end of HIV/AIDS. Women have the right to say no.

"A man is one who says, "Yes, I am a man, I understand no.""

Sipho Xulu, secretary general of the Birds supporters club added: "A real man has authority when he speaks, he can persuade and encourage with his words, not his fist. That is the way of our forefathers, and that is the way of men of today."

The Birds are supporting the efforts of Rape Action Group, Media Against Violence and the National Network of Women Against Violence – and by extension all groups working to end violence against women and children.

Player Mark Batchelor sums it up: "We want men and women to follow The Birds. Fly high. Don’t stay in the gutter. Be different, be strong, speak out against violence."

For further information contact:

Moroka Swallows, director, Gavin Bernstein +27-011-4846131
PR: Godfrey Gxowa +27-083-504-9770
Rape Action Group, Terri Wulfsohn +27-011-8077192

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