Bonisiwe Field Project is by far the least developed Safe Park that we have been working with, in terms of facilities as well as general resource. The Safe Park supports around 100 children of all ages by offering them a nutritious meal and a space to do their homework after school. For many of these children this may be the only full meal that they receive in the day. Therefore it is so important that Bonisiwe receives further support so that it can continue to support these children and continuously develop the ways in which it does so. The Safe Park currently runs out of a makeshift shack and container that are situated on the outskirts of its community, on land that has been borrowed from the Church. Over 10 years ago, the Church began the construction of a small building on the plot of land that was to be for their use. The previous Pastor of the Church had promised Patricia, the founder and manager of Bonisiwe, that she would be able to have access to this building for the Safe Park. However the Pastor passed away shortly after the construction began, and after her passing the building was never completed. As the years have passed, the Church has become more eager to reclaim their land and the future of the Safe Park has become uncertain. As you will see, this was the main concern of the youths that we worked with. They felt that it was their right to have access to a safe space that they could attend for their daily meal and extra curricular support, without the fear that this space could be taken away from them at any moment. The films that they created in the first half of the project also touched on other issues that can be found in their communities that they decided they would like to speak out about.
Some of the youths from the Bonisiwe Field Project noted that sexual abuse is common in their community. They wanted to draw attention to this issue as a means of empowering women to take a stand against this issue as they feel that is should not be accepted as the norm. They wanted to create a film that would encourage victims of sexual abuse to speak up about their experiences and seek justice for what has happened to them. This film focuses on the issue of husband rape and alcohol abuse, as the youths wanted to draw attention to the fact that rape is still a crime even if the victim and perpetrator are married. However in discussions on this topic, the youths noted that sexual abuse happens through many different means in their community. The following film does contain content that may be considered sensitive, however it was a powerful issue that the youths felt they needed to address. It is so important that they bring light to this manner of issue in their community, as in doing so they are also raising awareness of the matter.
Recent statistics are showing that 'Intimate Partner Violence' is the biggest killer of South African women (more so than HIV) with a woman dying from this form of abuse on average, every 8 hours. There is also a stigma around reporting domestic abuse, which undoubtedly contributed to the growth of this statistic. Therefore it is so important that these youths want to draw attention to this issue in their community.
Here is an article that summarises the statistics on domestic violence in South Africa, with links to the two main studies that support these statistics:
Another story that the youths wanted to tell, was about the issue of xenophobia, which felt is common in their community. However they also strongly felt that there are two sides to this story, so they wanted to represent this in their film. When we think of xenophobia, we often think that there is no grey zone between victims and perpetrators. However the economic factors that cause xenophobia in South Africa are most hard felt in the country's impoverished and underprivileged communities, where there is tough competition for jobs. Our youths wanted to show that the solution for peace between South Africans and other African natives can be found in the middle ground of the competition for jobs as they felt that foreigners are often offered positions at the expense of local citizens. This is their take on xenophobia in South Africa.