Learners protest against women and child abuse


A regular protest against women and child abuse during morning rush hour traffic is becoming a tradition at a Johannesburg Catholic Girls School. Frank Tuson visited the school earlier this week to see the protest in action.

“Kwanele Kwanele” – “Enough is enough” say the signs and t-shirts of the pupils at McAuley House Catholic School in Parktown West, Johannesburg.

Standing in protest on the sidewalk outside their school has become a monthly (often more frequent) tradition for the school’s approximately 300 young students, since it was initiated by former head mistress, Eleanor Hough, an abuse survivor herself, in 2013.

The protest is against rape and abuse, particularly of women and children. The school has not only raised awareness of this scourge in South Africa, it has also collaborated with People Against Woman Abuse (POWA). Charity drives and t-shirt sales are among the initiatives the school takes in order to raise money to support POWA.

During the morning rush hour, as people pass by the silently protesting learners, many hoot and wave in support of the protest.

Tshegofatso Moeketsane, a grade 12 pupil hoping to study law or clinical psychology at UCT, has been leading the initiative since last year. “Often, when there is an incidence of rape or abuse covered by the media, we hold an extra protest” says Moeketsane, “and we hold a prayer service afterwards for the victims of rape and abuse”. She says that the campaign is important “because we are a girl’s school, and one in three women in this country will be raped in their lifetimes”.

“In South Africa, a woman is raped EVERY 4 minutes! We started Kwanele Kwanele in order to create awareness for rape & abuse, especially of women & children. With a greater awareness of this issue in our society, and a stronger, united voice against abuse, we believe that change is possible,”  it reads on the campaign description.

Image: Frank Tuson

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* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.


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Learners protest against women and child abuse