RALF Newsletter November: #EndViolence

2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the 16 days of activism campaign which is held annually from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. In this edition of the newsletter we share some of our plans for this year’s theme, titled #EndFemicide, we share a #DecrimBotswana update – spoiler alert! its good news!! – and we announce the launch date for AFS #5! 

As the world comes together, combining efforts to end violence against women and girls; we are reminded once again of the limited and biased nature of rights. Violence against women, girls and gender-based violence (GBV) remains an international problem. This year, 2021, marks the 30th anniversary of the 16 days of activism campaign which is held annually from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. This highlights, in part, the time that women have spent defending their existence and freedoms.

As we kick off our individual and collective efforts to eradicate violence against women and girls, may we be steadfast in appreciating that change is incremental. Nonetheless, our resolve and strong belief is that women and young girls’ rights should be treated with the urgency of an interim presidency.

The Global 16 days campaign’s theme #EndFemicide reminds us not only of the harsh reality that women are killed daily, but additionally demands us to interrogate the subtle [individual and collective] micro – and macro -aggressions such as the silencing of women online through cyberbullying, trolling and barriers to access of SRHR services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAL this year will focus on the them #EndFemicide and #Accountability of world leaders towards ensuring women’s unequivocal safety.

Susceptibility to violence

With the looming risk of a 4th COVID-19 wave and induced lockdowns, women and young girls are once again at a risk of further violence. Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, it is difficult to determine with certainty the state of violence against women in many countries as barriers to access have further been exasperated. 

Countries such as Poland have taken back some women’s rights gains by reversing beneficial resources such as abortion services. 

South Africa announced a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in 2020 –  a move aimed at improving the status of women –  and planned to realise this by changing men’s behaviour. This Strategic Plan  is yet to be evaluated on its efficiency. The beginning of 2021 was, however, marred with reports on violence against women and moreso, trans women.

Uganda has recently passed two gender responsive laws, i) the Succession Amendment Bill and ii) the Employment Amendment Bill that will see women and girls benefit and, to an extent, members of the LGBTQ community. The bills had been stalling for years without any justifiable cause. Women and girls are yet to experience these changes.

Zimbabwe has experienced an increase in the number of intimate partner related deaths as well as an increase in rape. Other factors, such as inadequate health care during childbirth have contributed to increased  rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in the country.


Voice, Body and Resources

We demand, on this day and every other day, unequivocal commitment to the fulfillment of women’s and all people’s autonomy, freedom and peace.   

PowerUp! is a project designed to help facilitate processes in which women locate themselves within systems of oppression and work towards their full autonomy for both individuals and communities. CAL, as part of the consortium, will work in 6 countries namely Benin, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

We invite you to take part in our upcoming activities between the 1st of December to the 10th of December 2021. Visit our website, upcoming events www.cal.org.za for more information.


In June 2019 Botswana’s Gaborone High Court decriminalised  same-sex relations in Botswana, effectively declaring that 164(a) and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code violated the rights to liberty and dignity, privacy, and freedom from discrimination. 

After the decriminalisation of same-sex relations in 2019, the government of Botswana indicated its plan to appeal the judgment. The appeal hearing took place on 12 October 2021

Advocate Sidney Pilane of the Attorney General’s Chambers who represented the State, based some of his arguments on the following:

  • The non-discrimination clause in the constitution states that Batswana shall not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, etc. In the 2019 judgement the bench assumed ‘sex’ to be inclusive of sexual orientation. Advocate Pilane queried this interpretation. 
  • Section 59 specifically states that the non-discrimination section of the constitution does not apply to laws predating the constitution and therefore did not apply to the penal code which was instituted two years prior to the constitution

On 29 November the court of appeal dismissed the attorney general’s appeal and upheld the 2019 ruling that decriminalised same-sex relations

CAL congratulates our member LEGABIBO, their allies and partners and all LGBTI Batswana for their tireless advocacy and commitment to bodily autonomy for all 

Follow @legabiboadvo@follow_salc@caladvocacy for more
Watch the judgement here

AFS Issue #5 – Launching 14 December 2021

According to the internet an economy “is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services by different agents”. In general, it is defined as “a social domain that emphasises the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources”. At a glance, the ways in which goods and resources are produced, moved and then consumed may not be a common priority area for feminist activists – but on closer inspection, the values and rules of a consumer and capitalist culture are, or should be, very close to the heart of any decolonial politic.

This is the premise on which we launched the call for submissions for issue #5 of the African Feminist Standpoint 

We are incredibly excited to announce that Issue 5 is set to launch on 14 December 2021! 

We received amazing submissions that range in topic from Feminist organising and the politics of money  to  A feminist analysis of 7 of 9 [For all the Trekkies] and the commodification of queer bodies  to The socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 in South Africa to Shifting Zimbabwe’s vision 2030 beyond extraction and burning: Feminist Alternatives to Development.

As always, we are incredibly excited to share and learn with you all through the African Feminist Standpoint 

Click here to read previous issues