The Cape Town community came together to make a symbolic stand against gender-based violence this weekend. People decorated the Ribbon Gate in Tokai Forest with ribbons to represent their commitment to breaking the cycle of abuse.

The “Ribbon Gate” located in Lower Tokai Forest has become a powerful symbol as it represents the fight against women and child abuse, and violence.

This colourful display first appeared in March 2016 when the community began tying ribbons to a small section of the Open Road fence following the murders of Franziska Blöchliger, which took place in the fynbos of Lower Tokai and Sinoxolo Mafevuka in Khayelitsha.

Since then, it has become a yearly tradition to honour the victims we have lost, and to promise to do better.

On Saturday [December 5], the community came out and practiced social distancing while tying ribbons and placing painted rocks along the fence throughout the course of the day.

Provincial Chief Whip Mireille Wenger made a powerful and passionate speech on why every citizen must play a part on preventing gender-based violence.

“This Ribbon Gate is a site of gender based violence in its worst form and we remember Franziska and we pray she rests in peace,” Wenger said.

“Every ribbon tied… Each ribbon representing a person, a family, a community who are saying #NotInMtName, #NotInMyCommunity, #NotInMyCountry! Each ribbon signifies a commitment to stand up, to protest, and for each one doing their bit to beat this scourge of gender based violence against women and children.”

She continued: “South Africa has the highest per capita rates of intimate femicide that has ever been recorded in any study anywhere in the world. The level of crime against women in South Africa is a national disgrace…

“I call upon all reasonable and responsible people to join us today…to make a pledge to care and to act, because it is only by acting with common purpose, can we all make a difference in the lives of women and children, and start winning the battle against gender based violence and violence against women and children. Not in my name!”

Pictures: Facebook / Parkscape

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