Press Release: Men and GBV

Habana warns about toxic masculinity in fight against gender-based violence


CAPE TOWN. – Three iconic South African sport stars, Bryan Habana, AB de Villiers and Kermit Erasmus, joined a webinar hosted by 1000 Women Trust in collaboration with Pick ‘n Pay yesterday, in calling for all South Africans – men and women – to join and act against gender-based violence.

The webinar entitled “Crucial conversations with men about gender-based violence” was hosted by the well-known TV-personality Liezel van der Westhuizen and Habana, a legendary wing who represented the Springboks in 124 tests.

Erasmus, a Cape Town City FC and Bafana Bafana striker, also attended.

Habana said: “I am of the opinion we as men are the problem (with regards to gender-based violence). We need to be the solution – young boys, older gentlemen – we need to play our part because we are the problem. If we are not going to play our part as men, the problem of gender-based violence will get worse.

“Gender-based violence is a pandemic and has catastrophically increased over the past number of years. We as men need to acknowledge there is a male culture and toxic masculinity that is at the root of the gender-based violence problem,” Habana added.

“How do you show your kids about respect for women? For us as dads it is first and foremost about how we are treating our wives. How do you physically treat her and establish a loving environment. You can show emotion, you can say you are wrong and show your softer side towards your wife,” Habana added.

Gender-based violence is not spoken about enough in the professional sporting environment, Habana said.

Erasmus said: “I have two beautiful girls. I must show them how I treat my wife and that I am respectful and kind.

“For me it is about showing respect and appreciating the things that you have been given (by a woman) and that there is no superiority between the sexes. If you treat each other with humility there is no reason why we should have gender-based violence.”

“We have got to raise more awareness about gender-based violence amongst men.

“We need to speak about the topic of gender-based violence in local communities and be accountable. We need to step up as men and support women and show that we care about them.”

De Villiers, former Protea-captain and an all-time great batsman, is at the Indian Premier League in Dubai, but expressed his support for the fight against gender-based violence via ‘n video-clip that was displayed on the social platform of 1000 Women Trust.

De Villiers called on South African men to take time to speak to their sons about the important role in society of respecting women and girls.

He said: “We need to show and teach our sons today how to be good men, how to treat their mom and sisters, aunties and teachers and most importantly, how to respect themselves in order to respect the women in their lives.”

De Villiers also expressed his support for 1000 Women Trust’s commitment to unite against gender-based violence, rape and abuse.

Van der Westhuizen said the National Gender-Based Violence Command Centre reported a spike in gender violence-related calls soon after the lockdown was announced and has received over 76 000 calls during the period. This is compared to the 13 591 calls received during the first three months of the year.

“South Africa holds the shameful distinction of being one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman. We have amongst the highest rates of intimate partner violence, and recently released data from Statistics SA show that rape and sexual violence have become hyperendemic.

“This is a scourge that affects us all: young and old, black or white, rich and poor, queer or cis, rural or urban. It pervades every sphere of our society,” Van der Westhuizen said.

Bullying in schools is another aspect of violence in South Africa. As  many as 57 % of South African learners have been bullied at some time during their high-school careers. Tina Thiart, founder member of 1000 Women Trust, said the organisation developed an anti-bullying campaign and toolkit. For more information, visit the toolkit at

Yesterday was the second webinar in a 3-part series of conversations about gender-based violence in the country. The intent is to encourage people to participate in the conversation and start acting against GBV in their communities.

Another webinar on Wednesday 26th August entitled “Diversity and inclusion and gender-based violence” will be hosted by Yolanda Miya, director of the Mamo Properties Group.


Media release compiled by Fanie Heyns on behalf of 1000 Women Trust. For more information, contact Tina Thiart on 073-2079079.


Click to watch the full webinar: