The idea for the GBV video originated with the Epworth High School’s active and dynamic Interact club, which focuses on community-based activities and is especially passionate about issues of social justice such as gender-based violence. Since the start of the year, the school has allowed our high school pupils to come to school dressed in black civvies on Thursdays in support of Thursdays in Black. This term, we purchased Thursday in Black (TIB) badges from the TIB organisation and now all the high school pupils can wear these badges with their uniform.
Searching for an innovative and compelling way to make their “voices” heard, Interact started planning a flash mob dance to the “My Body” song that was rebooted by local artists Lira, Juliet Harding, Mariechan and Gigi LaMayne, in partnership with 1st for Women Insurance in late 2020.
Epworth teacher and co-ordinator of Interact, Debbie Preston, made contact with 1st for Women to inform them about Interact’s initiative and to find out if they would be interested on coming on board in some way. She planted the seed of using our flash mob as a springboard to challenge other schools to lend their “voices” to this worthy cause. 1st for Women expressed an immediate interest and came up with the idea of launching a competition for the month of June (Youth month), encouraging schools to take part in the #StandUptoGBV challenge by using their song, creating a dance to it and sharing it online with the #StandUpToGBV. The challenge is open to any school in South Africa who will then go into a draw, and 1st for Women are offering prize money to the value of R10 000 to the school plus R10 000 to the women-based charity of their choice, if they get drawn at the end of June 2021.
The Interact flash-mob idea subsequently morphed into a whole school project, incorporating Grades RRR to 12. “We wanted to see all our pupils and all our staff actively creating awareness around gender-based violence and taking a stand against this scourge. The Interact pupils took ownership for the project, choreographing the dance moves which were then taught to the whole school. It was truly a dance for the pupils, by the pupils. What an uplifting, liberating experience to see our youth taking a stand and being able to give them a voice and guide them through the process. With the support of a great Epworth Team we have created awareness and done something outstanding and life changing, hopefully for many” said Preston. A professional videographer assisted in capturing the footage, which was completed over two mornings.
View the video here