South African actor, director and playwright Dr John Kani has called on male performing artists and radio and television celebrities to mobilise their influence to break the wall of silence that still surrounds the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
“In the global push to stop GBV, men need to join forces with women to end violence against them and children,” said Dr Kani, who is the Special Ambassador of the Market Theatre Foundation.
He explained that performing artists’ popularity and their high profiles give them the power to shine a much-needed spotlight on GBV.
“We are visible influencers and it is about time for those of us who can to use the ubiquity of our voices and the power of our celebrity status to say enough is enough! The violence must stop now,” he said.
Dr Kani emphasised this should not be a once-off action, but rather a passionate call on men in the arts and entertainment industry to support and advance the fight against GBV and to face and acknowledge this ugly side of humanity.
His sentiments are supported by the Market Theatre Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Ismail Mahomed, who is also calling on men to take a stand against the scourge of GBV in the country. The Market Theatre Foundation was founded on the ethos of social justice and it has a legacy of getting artists involved in protecting human rights.
“By taking the lead from one of South Africa’s most iconic artists, we want men to reclaim the responsibility that we have to end GBV,” said Mahomed.
He explained that many male celebrities are generally hesitant to come on board and speak out against men’s violence towards women and children.
“It is commendable that an artist of Dr Kani’s reputation and global stature is driving a campaign to get male artists and celebrities to take a stand,” said the foundation’s Brand and Communications Manager Zama Buthelezi.
Dr Kani recently addressed the foundation’s employees and was joined by other men from the creative and cultural industries who are also making their voices heard.