“Gender-based violence is South Africa’s second pandemic (competing with COVID-19), as cited by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the start of lockdown level 3 last year when 21 women and children were murdered in the span of two weeks,” explains arts and performance specialist, Mandla Mbothwe of Mud & Fire Parables, the driving force behind the hard-hitting online movement, Body of Evidence that stars some of South Africa’s established as well as new artistic talent.

Mbothwe is a University of Cape Town academic. He is also co-artistic director of Magnet Theatre. Mud & Fire Parables was  Launched late last year to address the impact of gender-based violence in South Africa whilst supporting local artists and providing them a platform to express their own thoughts and feelings about GBV.

The movement features a series of short, powerful musical, dance, visual, narrative, poetry, and conceptual pieces – all designed to galvanize a new way of thinking about our humanity and our responsibility to each other and to build a counter-movement embracing all levels of society. The series will be broadcasted on Facebook and Instagram Live with full clips available on the www.bodyofevidence.co.za site, will start on Monday, 8 March (International Women’s Day).

The first instalment is set to feature actress Lee-Ann van Rooi and poet Koleka Putuma, in conversation with counselling psychologist Masimbulele Buso, managing director of the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation, that’s joined forces with the campaign.  Follow the series on Facebook and Instagram: @BodyofEvidence

More than 40 interdisciplinary artists have thus far contributed in various capacities to Body of Evidence and continue to do so. The campaign is hosted by www.bodyofevidence.co.za and associated social media platforms. Underpinning the initiative is a national 24/7 hotline (0800 428 428) for those subjected to gender-based violence.

“We’re enormously pleased with the results of the launch phase of our campaign and are now moving forward in introducing an online content series featuring artists in discussion about the gender-based war zone we’re finding ourselves in, potential solutions and ways of helping victims,” Mbothwe states.

Next Week Thursday, March 11, the series will present high-profile television personalities Masasa Mbangeni and Bongile Mantsai.

“An e-book will also be launched in the coming weeks,” Mbothwe adds. “Meant as an ongoing collection of creative work by known artistic talent as well as the general public, we’re hoping it would provide a safe space for the sharing of stories, knowing that healing starts by exposing darkness to light.

To view the introductory video of the campaign, click here.  Or click here to watch Procare’s hotline video.

For details of all contributing artists, click here, or visit www.bodyofevidence.co.za.

Join the conversation and use the hashtag: #BodyofEvidence; #ChooseToChallenge; #GBV-F

Picture: Pexels

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