Members of the faith-based Faith Action To End GBV in Newlands were joined by students from Sunmore and Ronningen Folk Schools in Norway to raise awareness around gender-based violence. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA
Members of the faith-based Faith Action To End GBV in Newlands were joined by students from Sunmore and Ronningen Folk Schools in Norway to raise awareness around gender-based violence. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA

The now generation tackle GBV

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Nov 27, 2021

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There was a vibe in Newlands on Thursday as residents were spotted “catching the moves” to Jerusalema with visiting students from Norway.

The students, who come from Norway, Germany, Italy, the US and the UK, were in Durban this week with faith-based collective, Faith Action To End GBV, and were marking the start of the 16 Days of Activism and their own 120-Day Campaign around the theme #faithingenderjustice.

The group marched through the streets before gathering in the main road where an impromptu Jerusalema dance saw motorists hooting and cheering as they went past.

Leading the visitors was Norwegian teacher Oyvin Sonnesyn, who said the students came from two folk schools in Norway.

“They do a gap year and we have come to South Africa to learn about South Africans. We want to get inside SA society and within communities. We want to meet people at grassroots level and see what the real picture is and the hope that you will be able to achieve the dream of Mandela.

Taking the 120-Day campaign around #faithingenderjustice, Norwegian students and Faith Action to End GBV members in Newlands. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad (ANA)

“By coming here, we want to show our support and learn more about ourselves as global citizens,” said Sonnesyn, adding that gender-based violence was a major challenge in South Africa.

Student Megan Williams, 18, who has a British and Canadian background and lives in Norway, said: “I’ve wanted to come to South Africa ever since I was young. I want to help people in any way I can and there are so many people in the world who need help”.

Social and GBV activist from Forever Uniting Newlands, Sylvia Danster, said she was a survivor of gender-based violence.

Faith Action To End GBV members in Newlands with Norwegian students who are in Durban looking at social justice challenges. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad (ANA)

“Firstly I am human and believe all lives matter. It’s really important for social services to provide support,” she said.

Nadia Bernon from Newlands East Humane Society said having the students visit Durban was “absolutely awesome”.

”This is the first time this has happened in our community and it will show our local students the opportunities that are out there and to focus on better things for the future.”

Also at the gathering, newly elected councillor Graeme Clarivette said: “This is a good thing. The kids are more empowered and able to speak about their challenges. They can also speak to the Norwegian students and see a different side to life.”

The Independent on Saturday

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