Art As Advocacy – Creative Propaganda. The One In Nine Campaign
The Forum hosted multiple concurrent breakout sessions, which allowed smaller and more focused discussion and debate on a wide range of issues affecting women’s rights and movement building in the world today.
The following presents an edited and abridged transcript of Art as Advocacy – Creative Propaganda. The One in Nine Campaign.
This session took place on the first day of the Forum and placards were later used in a demonstration and march.
Organised by: The One in Nine Campaign
Presenters: Dawn Cavanaugh and Carrie Shelver
To read more about the Breakout sessions at the Forum, please click here
To listen to the audio file of this session, please click here
Please see attachment below for downloadable pdf with design and photos
Dawn Cavanaugh: I’m not sure about how many of you know about the 1 in 9 campaign. We are showing some slides at the moment that depict some of the most intense moments, especially at the beginning of the campaign in 2006.
In late 2005, the then-president of the ANC, Mr. Jacob Zuma, was charged with the rape of an amazing young woman and activist, a colleague who we named Kwezi. On the 13th of February 2006, Mr. Zuma appeared in the Johannesburg High Court under the charge of rape. There were 20 people who stood outside the court on that day, [despite] being intimidated or warned by friends within the ANC and other social movements [to] stay clear of the case because it was politically sensitive. Nevertheless, 20 human rights defenders and activists stood outside from around five different organizations. Over the next couple of months, the numbers grew. At one stage we had 600-800 people standing outside the Johannesburg high court.
I think most of you know that he got completely free from those charges, and the woman in the case was forced into exile. I’d just to acknowledge her in this moment, Kwezi and fellow activists and women human rights defenders. It was very clear to us, after judgment on the 15 of May, that we needed to continue.
The work in South Africa on violence against women has always been really powerful. But the 1 in 9 shifted the focus of a whole range of things. One of them was the use of images [and] media in really deliberate, really proactive and creative ways to force our messages. [Whether] we were 50 people or 12, we found [we could] get our message into the public domain in the most incredible ways. You don’t need a permit to demonstrate for 12. So [we would put] 12 people dressed in khangas outside the court, and that would [make it onto] the BBC because the images were just so powerful, so strong, so compelling.
This session is about recognizing the creativity of us as feminist women, human rights defenders, and activists. Even without the masses behind you, even when the masses are on the side of patriarchy, we can use our creative ideas to really build a movement. I am going to leave it there...
Carrie Shelver: Tomorrow we are going to take to the streets … We hope that we’re going to have large numbers of women both from inside the forum [and] from the communities in and around Cape Town.
But why we are marching? There are a hundred reasons, right? Why am I wearing this T-shirt? Why are we pissed-off women? We are marching [to protest] the impunity that perpetrators get from the state, from the criminal justice system, from society. So part of it is to demand an end to impunity. Part of it is also to talk about a better, more effective, more responsive criminal justice system. But of course, we’re also marching [in support of] women’s human rights defenders. Those are the kinds of messages that we are going to be carrying on the streets tomorrow in Cape Town. We’re marching about the general situation in all of our countries, but also in the name of these particular women for whom justice is not being done.
So, that’s a bit about the march tomorrow, we will be handing over petitions to various government representatives. They will not be asked to speak. We will be handing over a memorandum to them outlining these demands.
Dawn Cavanaugh: (Speaking to participants who’ve moved to work stations) We’ve got five work stations? We are planning on providing a framework for the march tomorrow and also a framework [for] the experience of a wonderful way in which a large group of people can collectively produce media. Keeping in mind the kinds of content and messaging that we used in our posters, it may stimulate an image … The only thing we ask is that [you identify your] country so we know that we are really representing international issues. You’re absolutely of course welcome to print, paint, make marks, finger prints, foot prints, anything you like over the images ... We have three colours black, white and purple... The brushes we have two sizes...