One Billion Rising launches fests

FamCast News
18 days ago


By Mateliso Phulane

The month of February marks an important calendar footprint for the One Billion Rising Movement – the launch of the Rising Freedom festivals.

The festivals are aimed at inspiring change across the globe through platforms infused with art, dance, healing, empowerment, and connection.

Through these festivals, the One Billion Rising Movement intends to nurture unity, foster new perspectives, and reshape narratives, all the while building a future that celebrates inclusivity and liberation.

This year, the Lesotho branch of One Billion Rising Movement will form part of its sister counterparts who will be hosting various festivities throughout the month of February, joining the global movement to end gender-based violence (GBV) and promote freedom.

The Lesotho 2024 theme is: “Be the New World, NKA KAROLO! End the Silence on Gender-Based Violence”.

Lesotho will launch the festivals on February 14, 2024 at the National University of Lesotho in Roma.

One Billion Rising is a global campaign, founded by Eve Ensler, to end rape and sexual violence against women. It was established on February 14, 2012 as part of the Valentine’s Day movement.

The campaign is a human rights movement geared towards raising awareness violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence) in human history.

The initiative began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic revelation showing that “one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during their lifetime”.

With the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls, the campaign says.

Since then, One Billion has been growing globally with different themes annually to show the world that women deserve freedom from violence, and call upon masses to join the movement in solidarity with victims and survivors of violence.

According to a statement issued this week, the ground-breaking festivals are meant to serve as a catalyst for change, uniting the community in a collective effort to end gender-based violence.

This would be done under three umbrella objectives:  to raise awareness and spark conversations on violence against women, using arts and meaningful engagements to creatively raise awareness about GBV;  to incorporate survivor stories and testimonials into the festival to give a voice to those affected by gender-based violence, showcasing their resilience and inspiring action; to educate and empower through art in a collaborative format with artists, activists, and experts; to design interactive sessions that provide education and resources on prevention, consent, healthy relationships, and bystander intervention. Here, artists will be encouraged to create pieces that promote empowerment, challenge stereotypes, and depict alternative narratives of gender equality and respect.

The last objective is to mobilise for change and activism by the facilitating networking opportunities between artists, activists, students, and community organisations, to foster collaborations and collective action against gender-based violence beyond the festival.

One Billion Rising Movement-Lesotho Coordinator, Winile Sakoane, said the campaign was deliberate in its effort to combat GBV related issues, to ensure that women and girls, in particular, were given the relevant awareness and resources to fight this scourge.

“Abuse against women and children has become predominant, and everyone should be seen playing a role to empower society at large about this social ill. We are hopeful that as the One Billion Rising Movement, the festivals will provide the necessary information and impart much needed knowledge to everyone concerned about GBV, to create a safe haven for our women and children,” Sakoane noted.

“One in three women across the planet will be beaten or raped during their lifetime. That’s one billion women and girls. Every February, we rise in countries across the world to show our local communities what one billion looks like and share a light on the rampant impunity and injustices that GBV survivors often have to go through in their everyday lives. “As rights defenders, we rise through different spaces, platforms and world against any act of injustice, intolerance, and deepened inequalities rooted in our societies and communities,” she added.