The atmosphere spoke of excitement, passion and solidarity. The speeches offered support and commitment from local organisations and Sonke partners for this exciting new initiative. Spoken word and personal testimonies shed light on the community’s fears and inspirations, and highlighted the urgent need for engaging in this work. Music filled the space with hope and laughter, while local dancers from the Spaza group entertained the crowd.
It was in this spirit that the Kuyasa One Man Can branch, located in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, was launched on 27 November 27 2009. The launch of the branch helped kick off this year’s 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and celebrated the third anniversary of the launch of the One Man Can Campaign.
Held in a small, humble church in Kuyasa, over 150 community members of all ages came out for the event. Representatives included members of the community council, as well as youngsters from a local youth development organisation, teachers from primary and high schools in the vicinity, and supporters from the Treatment Action Campaign.
While still embryonic in its development, the Kuyasa OMC branch holds promise and excitement for all who are involved. The establishment of the branch was only initiated in October, but even in this short period of time, it has brought together men and women from the Kuyasa area who share the ideal of building a safer and healthier community for themselves, their families, and neighbours.
Many of the self-elected committee are past OMC workshop participants; others joined us through word of mouth or simply a result of passing curiosity. Members will meet twice weekly to work on their agenda, develop both immediate and long-term action plans and participate in workshop and training activities. “Twenty years from now, I can look back and know I was part of something important, and be proud that I helped start the Kuyasa OMC branch,” said one committee member.
We hope that the this branch will pave the way for more future community-run OMC branches, and look forward to seeing it grow and develop.
Viva OMC branches, viva!
Laura is an intern at Sonke and is studying to complete a Masters in Community Development. Theo is volunteer who has assisted the Sonke team with many OMC workshops and trainings. He is also actively involved in Sonke’s growing youth initiatives.