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The 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence (GBV) campaign commences on Friday, 25 November 2022, and will run nationally until Saturday, 10 December.
The global theme is: “Unite! Activism to end violence against women and girls.”
The campaign aims to create conversation, generate awareness, share important information, and highlight ways we can all help tackle gender-based violence.
The Orchards Clinic, which opened its doors 5 September 2022, is a vibrant, primary healthcare facility implemented by Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and has joined the fight against GBV. The facility aims to provide health care services in Norwood, Highlands North, Orange Groove, Orchards, and surrounding areas.
Within the courtyard of this state-of-the-art facility lies a mural creating dialogue around GBV titled ‘Your Penis is Not a Weapon’. This mural can be seen from waiting rooms within the clinic - allowing people to view and engage with the mural.
Commissioned by the City of Johannesburg, it took close to six weeks to complete and was created by the artist Tracey Rose. She collaborated with artists like Adilson De Oliveira & Mzoxolo ‘X’ Mayongo of the Magolide Collective, Khanyisile Mawhayi, and Langa Maope.
“We hope the work will take the edge off the pervasive silence that reinforces the trauma of GBV and other social ills. This space of engagement in Orchards Clinic has collectively envisioned elements of hope, strength, protection, safety, and renewal we all desire,” says Rose.
“We are dealing with a profoundly damaged society, and the clinic site is the centre for healing this trauma and is the core visual intension of the mural and its considered imagery and material selection.”
For Rose, the choice to include a mural in Orchards Clinic might come as a necessity for the ability the arts to heal. Often, when people go to the clinic they are in the most vulnerable state.
Rose says the choice of why to produce a mural in this location, came down to two things. “How do we as artists produce work that can function as a tool of healing, conversation, and cultural production, within a space in which the general public will have the time on their hands, and subsequently, interest to engage in the idea’s we are putting forward.”
The mural depicts the pervasive, traumatising, and decrepit social ills associated with contributing to the plague that is GBV in South Africa. It has eight panels, in which a linear narrative occurs within the stylistic realm of a comic book.
Rose hopes through this mural, a conversation can be created among the victims of GBV in understanding that speaking out against one’s perpetrators and holding them accountable is a possibility that should be supported and ordained by the government and law enforcement, but also from a grass-roots level within society.
“A mural is not going to end GBV overnight. However, an ensemble of artists hopes this work sparks not just the tiniest conversations around the ills of GBV poisoning our country currently. If the work can do this, we believe it to be a success,” says Rose.
Issued by the City of Johannesburg