‘Dean Gqeba’ inaugurates a mass of #ChampionsAgainstGBV
The Gender Based Violence phenomenon is a painful and pale subject like a sore thumb for the University of Fort Hare. In the broader university discourse, within and amongst Senior Managers, University and Student Structures, there is no other subject that is so top-of-mind. Take time and analyse the passion, resources and value attached to putting mechanisms in place to resolve this thorny subject. You will realise that the University has spared no effort, marshalled its workforce to work tirelessly to a point where University Structures will adopt a policy imminently. The policy, amongst others, will address the matter of sexual relations between staff and students. This matter has been an Archilles’ heel for the University to a point where recently the university featured negatively on a current affairs show – Checkpoint.
As part of his on-going plans to deal with the scourge of GBV, the Dean of Students – Mr Malinge Gqeba, showed his mettle when he organised thirty students from each of the university campuses into a workshop. The students were drawn from the following disciplines: Social Work, Psychology and Criminology. These students attended their first training workshop on the 29 & 30 March 2019. In the workshop, various experts trained the students and various discussions ensued on the causes, consequences and measures to prevent GBV. From this, a new advocacy group was formed, #Champions Against GBV. The #ChampionsAgainstGBV have an ambitious yet achievable plan of eradicating GBV by converting all University of Fort Hare students into Champions Against Gender-Based Violence. This is more the battle of the mind and inculcation of a behavioural pattern that is befitting of a university student and an apt response to breed responsible individuals in society.
For Dean Gqeba, “people are more responsive to what they are part of; than what they are told to do. No amount of preaching against GBV will ever be enough unless the perpetrators and would-be pepertrators are conscientized to realise how destructive their behaviour is” Amongst others, the following eminent persons addressed the workshop on different facets: Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, the Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration Movement; Dr Kerry Oosthuizen from the Commission for Gender Equality; Mr Brian Mabasa from Masimanyane Women’s Rights International. There were also university speakers like Mr Xolisa Faku, the Accommodation Officer; Mr Lulama Nombola, Counsellor at Student Counselling Unit and the architect of the programme Mr Malinge Gqeba, the Dean of Students. In addition, the #ChampionsAgainstGBV were trained on Presentations Skills, Workshop Planning & Facilitation and Basic Leadership Skills.
The immediate task for the #ChampionsAgainstGBV is to have a minute-long slot before each lecture ensues to address students, especially first years, on issues of GBV. In their quest to rid the campus of any incident of GBV, they have also declared April as a Month of war against GBV.