National Launch of the SANAC CSF Love Picketing Campaign
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Civil Society Forum (CSF) launched the Love Picketing Campaign for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Durban ahead of the opening of the 11th South Africa Aids Conference on Tuesday, 20 June 2023. The campaign launch involved a march from King Dinuzulu Park through the Durban CBD to Gugu Dlamini Memorial Park.
The launch was led by the SANAC CSF leadership in collaboration with government leadership, other civil society movements and development partners. The aim of the campaign is to communicate messages relating to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights with emphasis on STIs and human rights, particularly among young people.
The Love Picketing SRHR Campaign is a contribution of the SANAC CSF to the annual Sexual Reproductive Health and Healthy Lifestyle Campaign in South Africa, and it seeks to aid the effective implementation of the newly launched National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs 2023-2028. The Campaign attracted scores of people on the day from all regions of eThekwini, youth and women led organisations, human rights defenders, PLHIV, sex workers, health professionals, people with disabilities, LGBTI, social justice activists to make real their commitment to honour, defend and make visible their human rights as South Africans, this also included the handing of a memorandum to the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla who accepted it on behalf of the Deputy President, Honourable Paul Mashatile
Speaking to reporters at the start of the march at the King Dinuzulu Park, SANAC Civil Society Forum National Coordinating Committee member, Mr Mabalane Mfundisi, said the Love Picketing Campaign aims to promote access to quality, equitable and convenient healthcare services on a range of SRHR aspects, including sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), condoms and other forms of contraception, as well as youth and adolescent health services. “It is important that we take the conversations, strategies, and policies from the offices to the streets so that there is a greater understanding by the public,” said Mfundisi.
Handing over the memorandum to Government at the end of the march at Gugu Dlamini Memorial Park, SANAC Co-Chair and CSF Chair, Ms Steve Letsike took the opportunity to thank the Minister of Health, MEC for Department of Health in KwaZulu Natal and delegation for their presence to receive the memorandum on behalf of the Deputy President. The CSF Chair said of the memorandum, “South Africa must take the necessary measures to prevent all forms of violence by eliminating the root causes of violence, including homophobic discrimination, preconceptions and stereotypes based on gender identity, real or perceived sexual orientation, and prejudices of masculinity and virility, irrespective of their source”. “Campaigns must address the root cause of violence against women and LGBTQI+ individuals, combat gender-based stereotypes, raise awareness of the unacceptable nature of this violence, and help people to understand that it represents a grave violation of the rights of all people in Africa”, Ms Letsike said.
Following the national launch of the campaign in Durban, preparations for provincial launches are underway across the country.