The families of murdered Port Elizabeth women Jayde Panayiotou and Reeva Steenkamp, along with members of the ANC Women’s League, friends and supporters took a stand against violence against women and children during a march at the Port Elizabeth beachfront this afternoon.
Aimed at commemorating the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, the march began shortly after 5pm at Hobie Beach and progressed towards the Something Good roadhouse.
Supporting the Steenkamp and Inggs families was Freddie Sithole, father of Tshepiso, a first-year NMMU student who was found dead in her Summerstrand student residence in June 2011.
“The reason I am here is to show other men that there is never a reason to be cruel. Men do not own women; they are partners with them,” he said.
Reeva’s mother, June, said she was grateful to those who had come out to support the cause.
“Thank you for supporting us in trying to get some closure after what happened to us. There are many people here today who have lost their children and that’s exactly what this is all about,” Steenkamp said.
A friend of the Inggs family, Jacinda Chetty Thomas, said she was attending the march to send a strong message that she was against abuse aimed at women and children. “Our society lacks respect for women and children and we really need to fix that. Marches like these often make the greatest difference in the lives of the victims, of which most of us aren’t aware,” she said.
Much-loved Riebeek College Girls’ High School teacher Jayde Panayiotou was abducted outside her Kabega Park townhouse complex in April. Her body was found on a farm in Rocklands near Uitenhage the next day. Her husband Christopher and alleged accomplices are standing trial for her murder.
Port Elizabeth model Reeva Steenkamp was gunned down by Paralympian Oscar Pistorius through a closed toilet door in his Pretoria home early on Valentine’s Day in 2013.