13 June annually is proclaimed as International Albinism Awareness Day and by acknowledging and celebrating this day, a platform is created to educate people on albinism in a quest to demystify and debunk deep-seated misconceptions and superstitious beliefs on this condition.
In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for the prevention or attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism, and on 26 March 2015, following a recommendations from civil society organisations to consider persons with albinism as a specific group with particular needs who require special attention, the Council created the mandate of independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
What is Albinism?
Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000. Most children with albinism are born to parents whose hair and eye color are typical for their ethnic backgrounds.
Common myths about albinism?
A common myth is that people with albinism have red eyes. Although lighting conditions can allow the blood vessels at the back of the eye to be seen, which can cause the eyes to look reddish or violet, most people with albinism have blue eyes, and some have hazel or brown eyes. There are different types of albinism and the amount of pigment in the eyes varies. However, vision problems are associated with albinism.
The myth that sex with people with albinism is a cure for HIV/Aids: The false belief has resulted in the rape of women and girls with albinism in parts of Africa.
People with albinism (children in particular) bring bad luck: There is superstitious misconception that the condition brings sickness or even death.
Albinism is a punishment of a curse from the gods or ancestral spirits.
Body parts of persons living with albinism can be used in portions to cure other diseases.
Drinking the blood of a person with albinism gives you magical powers.
People who spent too much time in the sun will develop albinism.
People with albinism have a lower IQ than the rest of the population.
The abovementioned myths is just a few example which may lead to serious harm, or even death of people with albinism, seeing that many people still believe these myths about albinism.
People with albinism are at risk of isolation because the condition is often misunderstood. Social stigmatization can occur, especially within communities of color, where the race or paternity of a person with albinism may be questioned. Families and schools must make an effort to include children with albinism in group activities.
Source of some of the facts: Website of National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation
The Men’s Parliament was launched and presented by the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Honorable Hendrietta Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu, in collaboration with the South African National AIDS Council, Takuwani Riime and Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM). The purpose of the assembly was to discuss approaches to behavioural change programmes of the Department of Social Development (DSD) that seek to promote positive outcomes critical to change the course of gender-based violence faced by all South Africans.
After Honorable Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu was warmly welcomed by the Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, she later joined the men in Conville to officially launch the assembly, which will now be a quarterly sitting.
Attendees used the opportunity provided to them, to speak about the issues men are faced with on a daily basis and used the question “What is a man?” as a basis and kick-off point for all related discussions that followed.
These discussions included:
the nature of the problem;
validation of positive masculinity and the need for healing;
promoting a healthy society;
the call from women; and
the responses of men – what must be done, economic development – how we are going to build the economy and personal commitment, mobilisation and accountability (from decision, to action, to results, demonstrating the results of our actions, as well as mentorship in raising responsive responsible boys.
During her keynote address, Ms Bogopane-Zulu praised the GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, and Speaker, Cllr Barend Groenewald, as well as the local municipalities in the district for their eagerness to implement the programme. She said: “I know that more men will be included in future male-focused engagements. This is a long road, but if we continue to work together, the road will get shorter. We cannot achieve anything if we do not have your support”. Ms Bogopane-Zulu further referred to the recent tragic deaths of women in the district as a result of gender-based violence, specifically in the Mossel Bay area and said: “It is time that men take full responsibility and accountability, not only for their individual actions, but also for their collective actions”. She added: “Whenever these perpetrators go to court, only the faces of women are visible outside the courts“. She furthermore said: “I want to see men with posters in front of these courts, not only women. She encouraged men to stand firm and say ‘no, this one must not be allowed bail”. She further encouraged all attendees to use their voices with the hope to help Government to implement programmes that will assist men to improve their circumstances and behaviour, to make this country a better country for all.
Portfolio Councillor for Roads and Transport Planning Services at GRDM, Cllr Rowan Spies, spoke about how men must find a way to manage their egos and anger. He emphasised: “We as men have to find a way to deal with our egos and anger, in order to gain self-respect. Change only happens in the practice of discipline and forgiveness”. He concluded with the following words: “We are servants at various levels of society and we must all translate it into what we do on a daily basis. We have to deal with our egos and forgiveness,” he added.
The assembly was successfully chaired by the GRDM Speaker Barend Groenewald, who concluded the event with the following words: “Let us act, to correct, educate and let the perpetrators face the consequences of their own shameful and deliberate actions”.
It is envisaged that the programme will be implemented and extended to the local municipalities in the Garden Route from next year onwards, whereby men structures will be established by the DSD and GRDM, to ensure the progress of the Takuwani Riime project. ‘Takuwani Riime’ is a Venda expression meaning “let Us Stand Up Together”.
Resolutions taken at the event:
Motions with Notice
1. Motions on Definition of a man
A man is not simply defined by his physical make-up, A man is a man through his action(s) that reflect good morals, accountability and the affection he brings to his house and community. A man is provider and a protector, nurtured by his character.
2.Motions on health wellness and socio-economic hardships
We move for the adoption that men need to avail themselves to seek health advice timeously in order to detect and help prevent illnesses. Men need undergo introspection and seek psychosocial services in order to effect social behavioural change practices. Men need to undergo HIV, TB, Prostate Cancer and heart-related health check-ups and take a greater responsibility in looking after their health. Men need to work in conjunction with the government to examine the nature and structural drivers of unemployment for middle-aged men and develop a framework that will remedy unemployment.
3. Motions on gender-based Violence
We move for the adoption to work towards eradicating and preventing new cases of GBV, femicide, rape and abuse. We as Men of Garden Route bind and commit ourselves to say “No women and Child” should suffer or experience any form of violence in our district, we say “Not in Our Name”.
4. Motions on District Men’s Parliament
We move for the adoption to work towards strengthening the implementation of Takuwani Riime and looking at avenues to strengthen the relationship between the Garden Route District Men’s sector, District Municipality, local municipalities and the Department of Social Development. As men of the Garden Route District, we need to mobilize more men in communities, mobilize the business and capacitate existing men’s sector structure. We need to move towards institutionalizing our movement to be absorbed by our district and local municipality through finding synergies and other methods of cooperation. District Men’s Parliaments are to have quarterly sitting to monitor and evaluate implementation efforts, and to aid implementations of Boys Assemblies.
There are many different forms of violence, which you can read more about here. All these types of violence can be – and almost always are – gendered in nature, because of how gendered power inequalities are entrenched in our society.
GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or structural, and can be perpetrated by intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers and institutions. Most acts of interpersonal gender-based violence are committed by men against women, and the man perpetrating the violence is often known by the woman, such as a partner or family member .
Violence against women and girls (VAWG)
GBV is disproportionately directed against women and girls . For this reason, you may find that some definitions use GBV and VAWG interchangeably, and in this article, we focus mainly on VAWG.
Violence against LGBTI people
However, it is possible for people of all genders to be subject to GBV. For example, GBV is often experienced by people who are seen as not conforming to their assigned gender roles, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex people.
Intimate partner violence (IPV)
IPV is the most common form of GBV and includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by a current or former intimate partner or spouse, and can occur in heterosexual or same-sex couples .
Domestic violence (DV)
Domestic violence refers to violence which is carried out by partners or family members. As such, DV can include IPV, but also encompasses violence against children or other family members.
Sexual violence (SV)
Sexual violence is “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.” 
Indirect (structural) violence
Structural violence is “where violence is built into structures, appearing as unequal power relations and, consequently, as unequal opportunities.
Structural violence exists when certain groups, classes, genders or nationalities have privileged access to goods, resources and opportunities over others, and when this unequal advantage is built into the social, political and economic systems that govern their lives.”
Because of the ways in which this violence is built into systems, political and social change is needed over time to identify and address structural violence.
GBV in South Africa
Societies free of GBV do not exist, and South Africa is no exception .
Although accurate statistics are difficult to obtain for many reasons (including the fact that most incidents of GBV are not reported  ), it is evident South Africa has particularly high rates of GBV, including VAWG and violence against LGBT people.
Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (SV) in particular, with IPV being the most common form of violence against women.
Whilst people of all genders perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims .
More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner .
Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV in their lifetime [9, 10].
Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime .
Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime [10-12].
Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a women [10, 13].
Non-partner SV is particularly common, but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25 rapes had been reported to the police .
South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape .
Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s .
There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex .
Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man .
The Summit includes government, civil society and other role-players in an effort to find solutions to the scourge of gender-based violence that plague communities. The summit also serves as a platform for victims to share experiences and find collective solutions to issues.
On the end of the two-day summit, participants develop a list of priority actions that will outline a roadmap to a Garden Route free from Gender-Based-Violence.