It is no secret that South Africa has an alarming crime rate. Crime statistics recorded by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year (October – December 2021) showed an 8.9% increase in murder and a 3.5% increase in attempted murder when compared to the previous year.

The murder rate against women increased by 4.2% year on year and attempted murder by 7.2%. The murder rate against children increased by 22.6% quarter to quarter. Attempted murder of children increased 30% year on year and 39.2% quarter on quarter.

It can be argued that self-defence training and awareness would be beneficial as a part of every school’s curriculum. If the most vulnerable women and children of South Africa could learn the basics of physical self-defence, it would no doubt have the positive effect of not only helping to keep them safe, but building self-confidence and strength.

Recently,  South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) partnered with the Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO), Krugersdorp-based Westside FM community radio station, and Keep Safe self-defence workshops for women and girls, to deliver self-defence classes to the young women of SG Mafaesa Secondary School based in Kagiso, Gauteng.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Bafana Modise (South African Friends of Israel), Michele Engelberg (Keep Safe); Andrea Weiner (WIZO); Lebo Nxumalo (Westside FM); Photo by Mosala Nyawus, SAFI.

In addition to the self-defence training, the students received much needed reusable sanitary products, courtesy of Subz Pants and Pads. The Angel Network also took part by presenting the students with fabulous gift bags. “At this event, we saw the uplifting Jewish ethos of Tikkun Olam – Hebrew for ‘fixing the world’ – in action” stated Bafana Modise of SAFI.

Modise added that the school’s Principal Makungo was “gratified by the empowerment that had been given to the students, who were able to experience the freedom that knowledge of self-defence techniques brings, and also the control over their bodies, provides.”

Bafana Modise, SAFI, and the Kagiso students who received the self-defence training; Photo by Mosala Nyawus, SAFI.

“As the well-known maxim goes: empowered women change the world. SAFI is proud to have played a part in doing just that, and we look forward to working with WIZO on more projects that bring to reality the joys of living life according to Tikkun Olam” said Modise.

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