about 4 months ago i came across a link to something talking about a slutwalk in toronto and i tweeted it.
my friend @angelsmind and i struck up a conversation and during a couple of exchanges during which she asked whether there’d be one here in south africa, she planted the seed that led to the email i sent to the organizers of slutwalk toronto on may 8th, asking if i could organize a slutwalk in johannesburg. so really, indirectly, angel conradie is responsible for the slutwalk that happened right here in johannesburg today. and she has supported this initiative from day one, blogging and tweeting and re-tweeting and i regret that when i was doing the thank you’s today, i did not point out that fact. so angel, here publicly, i would like to thank you – both for planting this crazy idea and for your support all the way. thank you, thank you, thank you!
ok, maybe if i’d known what i was letting myself in for, i might not have taken on what turned out to be a gargantuan task which is probably going to leave me with a major deficit in my bank account, seeing that we had no sponsors and credit cards were the only way to cover the costs. however, for me, this initiative was not optional. it had to be done and once undertaken, the only way out was through.
along the way i co-opted some amazing help. i could not have done this alone, especially not without nadia assimacopoulos who became a confidant and sounding board and my go-t0 person, gina jacobson (@gnat_j) who was amazing at getting stuff done, sam beckbessinger (@greenham_sam) who did our website, media maven walter pike (@walterpike) who probably didn’t know what he was letting himself in for the day he tweeted to find out whether there was a slutwalk happening in jhb, and blogger and ad exec akona ndungane (@akona1) with whom i conceived isaidno, a resource for survivors where they can tell their stories anonymously or otherwise (please spread the word).
we had amazing speakers, film-maker@gillianschutte, feminist writer @jen_thorpe, journalist @fionasnyckers and @akona1 and crimon organized the collection of rape survivor handbags which will be distributed via the jes foord foundation. andre van tonder of jmpd was an immeasurable source of help and information in getting the right permissions for our event and went beyond the call of duty to help us make it happen. and then without paul/stranger and the other amazing marshals from think bike, our event would not have been nearly as safe and successful as it turned out.
thank you. thank you. thank you.
i think we achieved our aim of turning up the volume on the conversation around sexual violence and victim-blaming. i think we engendered much debate,though this is but the beginning. i might have initiated this event in jhb, but it belongs to all of us and i think we need to find our own ways to make a difference. how can you help change the prevailing mind-set? how can you educate someone else about the importance of respect and consent? it’s up to us. we have to make a difference. even though right now i’m exhausted and i want to forget about being an activist for just a nano-second, really, this is just the beginning of a long journey towards building a better world for us all to live in.
and though this might be very long-winded, i just wanted to make sure that i acknowledge the amazing people who made today possible, including everyone who dressed up and came out in icy weather to show their support. thank you to the people who donated, to the marshals who were amazing, to my friends who responded to my frantic calls and showed up to assist. and to the various women who came up to me, identified as survivors and thanked me for what i’m doing, thank you. i’m doing this for us.