The launching of the 'HeForShe' campaign in Nelspruit (South Africa)

T-shirts were being sold during the event

Saturday morning I represented the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference at the launching of the "HeForShe" campaign in Nelspruit. My words give an idea of the campaign and the reason of our partnership with UN.

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"Dear Friends, we are gathered here today to witness the launch of the ‘Heforshe’ Campaign which is a global initiative run by the United Nations Women to fight gender based violence. We thank the United Nations for opening up an opportunity for partnership with faith based organisations in the fight to end violence and discrimination against women. As the Southern African Catholic Bishops, we too are concerned with the high levels of gender based violence which is on the increase in our communities.  

In our response to this scourge, our Justice and Peace Commission has for the past couple of years run a multi faith campaign called ‘Men as Peacemakers’.  This campaign draws its inspiration from the story of the Beatitudes; ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God’ (Mathew 5:9). It targets men to be agents of change and influence. We are grateful for our partnership with different denominations, non-governmental organisations and the government in this campaign thus far.

The theme for our event today, ‘Break the silence, Raise your voice and take action for gender equality’ challenges all to take action against gender based violence. It challenges the way we think, the way we talk, in what we do and in what we fail to do! 

It is my sincere hope that as we all return to our homes after this event, we will truly be inspired and work for a better world, a world free of violence. May we all once again be reminded that the better world we yearn for begins with me and you. May we all raise our voices, take action and involve others.

It is for this reason that on behalf of the Bishop Chairperson of our Justice and Peace Commission, Bishop Abel Gabuza and of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, we endorse the "Heforshe" Campaign. As we move into the future, may we all join hands and play our different roles.

I also hope and pray that the campaign is also extended to our neighbouring country of Swaziland where I am bishop. 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, allow me now to welcome the Chairperson of the Moral Regeneration Movement, Fr Simangaliso Mkhatswa to address all of us on the theme of today.

I thank you."
  
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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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