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Open Mic Session: Artivism that lobbies for GBV rights

With a day left to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, a group of youths convened at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in song, poetry and dance on the eve of this year’s Human Rights Day commemoration to discuss the impact of GBV on young women.

The ceremony was dubbed the Open Mic, where youths shared their thoughts and understanding of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and how it is currently on the rise due to COVID-19. During the Open Mic session, artists emphasized the importance of treating women with respect and galvanising action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

“Women are a pillar of strength in all of us and we need to treat them with the respect they deserve,” said Jenifer Chiveya, also known as the Broken Poet.

The event sought to amplify the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls.

Andile Sag, a Bulawayo based poet gave a stellar performance on a piece that spoke of the rise in cases of GBV and through the poem she encouraged women to seek for help without fear of being victimized. The poetry piece strongly discouraged the rampant culture of physical, sexual, economic and verbal abuse as these tend to have a negative bearing on a victim’s confidence levels and ability to fully participate in matters of nation-building.

Although the voices of activists and survivors have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored, ending violence against women will require more investment, leadership and action thus it was so vital to amplify the voices through arts, music and poets.

Mimmie Tarukwana, a local musician explained why the colour orange was chosen as a theme colour, citing how it unifies all activities that are held throughout the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Artists also recommended a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized people. Sarah Bonne, a musician and photographer advised those who face Gender-Based Violence to break the silence and speak out.

“As we experience a new normal in this pandemic, let us work together to dismantle the culture of shame and blame that means that those abused often remain silent and support a Movement that stands for victims and supports them in speaking out and seeking justice,” said Sarah Bonne, a musician and photographer.

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