General Series Messages
Soul City believes that media significantly influences social norms. Given this, we are careful to ensure our media makes a positive contribution rather than perpetuating and reinforcing a negative status quo. This does not have to mean political correctness, diminished drama or sanitised scripts. The series is open to dealing with these issues in a positive way that raises debate. The following areas are key in this regard.
The Soul City series is committed to fostering a spirit of community activism as an essential component of development. Our messages should be conveyed where possible and where appropriate, through community action.
Gender Sensitivity and the Empowerment of Women
Some of the Series Four topics (such as "violence against women" and "youth sexuality") address gender issues specifically. However, gender issues tend to be central to most development concerns. For example in poorer communities, where water is collected by women and the source is often located some distance from home, women are reporting a high incidence of rape. Improvements in the status of women has been shown to greatly improve a nation's health and social indicators. Our series is therefore careful to take into account gender issues and stresses the importance of the empowerment of women.
Our series should take care not to perpetuate gender stereotypes or objectify women and, although not to the exclusion of men, should include the portrayal of women and young girl characters as strong role models. Similarly, the portrayal of non-sexist men and good communication in relationships between men and women is also important
Encouraging parents to communicate positively and more openly with their children is also an important background message.
Violence and guns
There is a growing body of evidence on the impact of violence in the media. For this reason we are reluctant as a series to perpetuate images of violence and guns as consequence free and glamorous.
The series is committed to the spirit of non-racism and racial stereotyping is to be avoided at all costs.
Very often people want to make healthy, positive choices but are constrained by obstacles in their environment. For example people may want to immunise their children but can't afford transport to the clinic. Many people may want to wash their hands before eating but don't have access to clean safe water. These are all important considerations and one of the reasons why we believe community activism is important. A strong voice in civil society is often what affects these structural changes. Similarly, we prefer to convey messages through positive role modeling where possible and we avoid pointing fingers at individuals and labelling them ignorant.
Avoid Conveying Messages Through Fear
It has been shown that messages conveyed in a manner that maximises fear, often results in audiences ignoring or blocking that message by finding some way to convince themselves that it applies to people other themselves.
Alcohol and cigarettes
The glamourisation of these substances in the media has been identified internationally as contributing to increased consumption, especially by young people, thus we endeavor at all times to deglamourise tobacco and alcohol, and do not show characters drinking and smoking unless it is related to a message. In addition we avoid showing advertising of alcohol and tobacco unless it is commented on and is part of the message. The role modeling of cool and hip young people enjoying life without the use of either alcohol or tobacco, is we believe a very important underlying message.
Violence Against Women
- To contribute to a social climate in which violence against women is viewed as unacceptable
- To encourage people to recognise violence against women as everyone's problem and to take action to combat it.
- Domestic violence is wrong. It is never acceptable or excusable.
- Domestic violence is not a private affair - it affects us all - men and women.
- We can do something to stop it. We do not have to tolerate violence against women as inevitable - as a woman's "lot in life" or a "cross that she must bear".
- Get help (helpline, woman's organisation)
- Give help to abused friend.
- The community must say that it's wrong
- Don't stand by doing nothing: call the police, make a noise to distract abuser until police arrive.
- Inform audiences of national toll free line.
- Domestic violence is a violation of a woman's human rights.
- It hurts children too.
- Break the intergenerational cycle of violence. Teach your children that violence against women is wrong.
- Domestic violence is against the law
- The police are meant to support you
- You can get an interdict to prevent abuser harming you any further
- You can lay a charge of assault
- Culture and religion condemn, not support, violence against women.
- Real men don't abuse women; women do not respect abusive men.
- Mr Nice Guy can be abusive
- Challenge myths such as "she must have done something to deserve it; if it was so bad she would just leave".
- Men do not own women - men and women are equal
The series should
- Role model a non-sexist man who doesn't believe men own or have the right to abuse women.
- Show abuse can be physical but also emotional, economic, psychological etc
- Show impact on mental health of woman and the children
- Show a woman moving from a state of no confidence and low self-esteem to one of more confidence as she gets access to more information and support. If time - initially she would blame herself and make excuses for her abuser and although at times she considers leaving him, she worries about where she will go to and how she will survive. She also worries about her children not having a father.
- Be inspiring to abused women. It should give them a sense that they are not alone and they can take action. That what they are experiencing is wrong and a violation of their human rights.
- Inspire friends and community to take a stand and speak out against violence against women.
- Give supporters the sense that what they are doing will help even if it not the advice they want the woman to take. They can give support ranging from simply listening, to going with the abused woman to court, to the doctor, to the police station.
- Role model elders and people in the traditional structures taking a stand against violence against women.
- Role model a priest who says it is not a "cross that the woman must bear".
- Role model a friend giving help to an abused woman. S/he should be supportive and help her make informed choices. But s/he shouldn't be judgemental or tell her what to do. This is disempowering. The friend shouldn't give up if she keeps on going back. The support is important and will give her strength to make informed choices.
Violence against women in South Africa is said to have reached epidemic proportions.
South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the entire world.
One in four women are said to be in abusive relationships and it is described as the country's most hidden crime.
A women is killed every six days in Gauteng by her partner.
Men don't own women
At the root of violence against women is a sense of male ownership of women and the belief that women are the property or "wards" of men. This gives many men a sense of entitlement over women which manifests as the "right" to make all household decisions, control the money, have multiple sexual partners while expecting fidelity from partner, etc. The woman is duty bound to adhere to certain rules and any challenge to this (seen as disobedience) is seen to legitimise violence.
Violence can be verbal, physical, sexual, emotional/psychological and economic
- Verbal: saying hurtful and insulting things that undermine her confidence and self esteem.
- Physical: see below
- Emotional and psychological: blackmailing her (e.g. threatening to kill her or children if she leaves), telling her she is worthless. Controlling where she goes and what she can do. Isolating her from family and friends.
- Sexual: forcing a wife or girlfriend to have sex is rape
- Economic: controlling all financial decisions; witholding money
The cycle of violence
The following pattern of behaviour in violent relationships has been well documented throughout the world.
- Build-up of tension phase
- Physical violence
- Honeymoon phase: apologies and promises never to do it again
- Build up of tension phase, etc
Many women in South Africa claim there is not even a honeymoon phase!
Violence against women exacts a tremendous social toll
It harms women's physical and mental health
- Women can get severely depressed even suicidal.
- They often blame themselves and lose their self esteem
- Many women are physically injured or disabled
- Many pregnant women miscarry
- Many women are killed by their partners
It harms children
- Children may become withdrawn and depressed
- Their school work may suffer
- They may become aggressive and get violent themselves
- They often experience nightmares, sleep disturbances and bedwetting
- They may get hurt trying to protect their mother
Many women stay because they are concerned that it is bad for their children to be without a father. However, given its harmful effects, many children are often better off with one parent than they are living in a violent home.
It costs the government a lot of money in medical services
It causes many hours of work to be lost while women recover, go to court,etc.
Break the intergenerational cycle of violence
Children in violent homes may learn that violence is a legitimate way to solve problems. Although not inevitable, many grow up mimicking the behaviour of their parents.
- Myth: Women deserve to be beaten if they are unfaithful, disobedient or cheeky
Fact: No-one deserves to be beaten for whatever reason.
- Myth: The Women must be doing something wrong
Fact: Whatever she is doing, it is not an excuse for violence
- Myth: It can't be so bad or she would just leave.
Fact: Many women are trapped in violent relationships because they have nowhere to go, have no money, are concerned about the children, are too scared because he's threatened to hurt her or the children. Many women want desperately to believe his promises to change.
Women are often told it is their duty to stay in the marriage and make it work. They are often told they must stay for the sake of the children (see below), lobola has been paid and so she "belongs" to the in-laws.
- Myth: It takes two to tango
Fact: Women are often beaten for no reason whatsoever
- Myth: Only violent men hit their partners
Fact: Often men who are well-respected, upstanding community members who would never dream of being violent to anyone else, are violent to their partners.
- Myth: Violence against women only happens in poor, uneducated communities
Fact: Violence against women cuts across racial, class, cultural and educational boundaries.
Why women often stay with abusive partners
Women may stay because they are unable to survive financially or support their children on their own. Often abusive men threaten women who try to leave, so many women may be too scared to go. Others believe they must stay for their children's sake, unaware that children often fare better with one parent than growing up in a violent home. Many women have been socialised to believe it is their duty to make the marriage work and believe strongly in their marriage vows. Others live in hope that their partner will change.
Women's reactions to ongoing abuse
- She is often blamed for the abuse and ends up believing this as well as the insults she may be subjected to (e.g. you are good for nothing)
- She tries to modify her behaviour to avoid "provoking" the abuse. Because her behaviour is not the root cause, the violence usually continues regardless.
- She often becomes isolated from family and friends, partly due to her own sense of humiliation but also due to partners controlling their movements and isolating them from people who may challenge their abusive behaviour.
- She may cover up for the abuser, deny he hit her and claim she "fell" or "walked into a cupboard". She may make excuses for him - eg he's been under tremendous stress at work lately, etc.
Common excuses for violence against women
- Culture and religion are often used to excuse violence.
Many people cite religion and culture as the origin of their belief that men are superior to women and use this to excuse their violence. Many cultures and religions do reinforce the belief in male superiority but culture particularly is something that is fluid and changes with the times. Religion to some extent does too. Regardless, neither actually condone violence against women and there are many examples that one can draw on where they state the contrary. The payment of lobola is often seen to give men ownership over their wives. It is often used as a license to control or discipline women. Very often this is achieved through violence. The series should emphasise that:
- lobola does not mean a man owns a woman and has the right to hit her. It used to be seen as a way of cementing families together.
- In the past there were serious sanctions for abusive men. There are many proverbs that condemn violence against women and that label abusive men as cowards.
- The man is suffering
The man has a hard life, he is poor, he is unemployed, he has been oppressed by apartheid, he is suffering financial difficulties, etc.
- He was drunk or on drugs. He wouldn't do it otherwise
These substances are more often used as an excuse for getting violent. Many abusive men do not get drunk or take drugs.
- She provoked me - she was cheeky; disobedient;
Provocation is often viewed as anything which questions the man's authority. Provocation is no excuse. Men often provoke women but very few men end up in hospital because of it.
Barriers to action
There are many factors which prevent people taking action. Many believe that it is none of their business, they may be scared to intervene because they fear getting hurt or they are concerned the man may suspect them of having an affair with the woman.
Some people like the man and don't believe he is capable of the abusive behaviour. Myths such as the women must have done something to deserve it or that it can't be so bad or she would just leave also present major barriers to action.
Parents often send their daughters back to abusive husband because his family has paid lobola and they believe she "belongs" to her in-laws family.
Women's rights are human rights
The international community has recognised that violence against women is a human rights violation and denies women their rights to equality, safety and security, health and wellbeing. According to international law, if fundamental rights are violated, governments have an obligation to intervene. As such, many governments, including SA, have committed themselves to international covenants protecting women's rights, such as CEDAW (the Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). This binds governments to take active steps to protect the rights of women and they must report to the United Nations on action taken in this regard.
Women often experience further abuse at the hands of the police and criminal justice system. The police are bound by law to take action against abusers but very often collude with abuser and trivialise complaints. They often refuse to intervene on grounds of it being a "private affair". Magistrates often believe many of the myths quoted above and do not take violence against women seriously. Their judgements therefore, are often based on their own insensitivity and lack of knowledge. In line with the government's commitment to CEDAW and new government policy, the police service and criminal justice system is undergoing reform. However, the gender sensitisation process has just begun and is not an overnight process. We need to make it clear that women have a right to expect police protection and proper treatment from the judiciary.
The new Domestic Violence Bill
- There is a strong possibility that this Bill will be passed before we go to broadcast. We will have to try to be somewhat flexible to allow for this new information.
- Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and is unfair to women.
- Sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, which causes discomfort to the "victim".
- You don't have to put up with it.
- There is something you can do: Steps to take if you are sexually harassed:
- report the matter to your union or human resource person
- write down details of these incidents including dates, what happened and where it happened.
- try to get a witness
- you can go through a grievance procedure
- a disciplinary hearing may be held thereafter to judge the case
- There are national codes of conduct against sexual harassment
Sexual harassment can include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct.
COSATU has committed itself to the elimination of sexual harassment in the labour movement through the adoption of a code of conduct for all affiliated unions. Union officials are obliged to take up cases on members' behalf in a speedy, sensitive, confidential and professional manner.
Nedlac has also recently adopted a code of good conduct on sexual harassment in the workplace to guide labour relations throughout the country.
Types of harassment (as defined in COSATU's code of conduct):
Various forms range from subtle unwanted attention to rape. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Physical - touching, patting, pinching, fondling, assault, attempted rape or rape.
- Verbal - sexual advances, telephone calls with sexual overtones, sex related jokes or insults, intrusive inquiries about a person's personal life, whistling, comments about a person's body.
What harassers often refer to as "harmless jokes/comments" can make people feel uncomfortable and therefore constitute harassment.
- Non verbal - leering, winking, public display of offensive or derogatory pictures.
Sexual harassment reflects the unequal power relations between men and women in society. The fact that harassers are usually in some position of power over the women means that refusal to comply with his wishes can lead to discriminatory practices ranging from harsh treatment at work, to lack of promotions and often dismissal. This ranges from harsh treatment at work, to lack of promotion and often dismissal.
There are cases of sexual harassment of men by women at the workplace. This is also unacceptable behaviour. However, we are focussing here on a male perpetrator as the majority of cases involve men harassing women.
HIV and AIDS
- To reduce the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS
- To promote safer sex behaviour
- People with HIV and AIDS are human beings and should not be shunned.
- People with HIV and AIDS need care and support
- Condoms can protect you against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- AIDS is spread mainly through unprotected sex. You cannot get AIDS through casual contact.
- You can live positively with HIV.
- Youth are also at risk.
- Sticking to one partner is safe if you both come into the relationship as HIV negative and remain faithful.
- You cannot tell by looking if a person is HIV positive. You can be carrying the virus for many years and still look well.
- It is illegal to fire an employee who is HIV positive.
The series should not
- Add to the stigma and fear of the disease through the undue portrayal of hysteria
- Social stigma and the fear of disclosure
People living with HIV or AIDS often face tremendous social stigma that can make their lives unbearable. While people are becoming increasingly compassionate and understanding, many people who have disclosed their positive status have lost their friends and been rejected even by their own families. Many employees have been fired, despite it being illegal to do so. This makes people fear disclosing their HIV status. The stigma surrounding the disease is a major barrier to its prevention. There remains a need to break the silence and to encourage support and care for those affected.
- People can live for many productive years with HIV
It is also critical to promote the notion that one can continue to lead productive, positive lives while HIV positive. People have lived up to 10-15 years with the disease and with the discovery of drugs that slow down the progression of the virus, life is being further prolonged.
- Lack of knowledge around transmission / Serial monogomy is not necessarily safe.
People tend to fear infection - despite the fact that transmission cannot occur through casual contact - and believe that there is something bad or "dirty" about the person. Youth often believe they are not vulnerable. That it happens to older people only. People often believe that because they stick to one partner, they are protected, even if they move from one faithful relationship to another. However, very often their partners are not faithful and so they are at risk. Also, if you come into a new relationship with a person who is positive, even if you both remain faithful, you could still get infected - ie serial monogomy is not safe.
- Statistics from the National Department of Health show that:
- As of year-end 1997, over 3 million South Africans were infected with HIV
- Experts predict this figure will soar to 4.5 million by 2005
- There are more than 1,500 new HIV infections a day
- AIDS will take an enormous toll on employee benefits, absenteeism, productivity, recruitment, and training expenses.
AIDS has become more than just a health problem-it is a disease that may destroy economic and social reforms.
- To unpack and address some of the key gender and sexuality issues underlying sexual choices and behaviours that contribute to the spread of AIDS and violence against women and young girls.
- To dispel myths about adolescent physical development that reinforce beliefs that young girls and women are inferior and that males have uncontrollable sexual urges that have to be satisfied.
- To encourage youth to develop their own personal identity independent of peer pressure.
- To encourage young girls to see themselves as their own "ticket to a better life".
- Males and females are equal and have the right to make their own choices about sex.
- Young men can control their sexual urges and this will not have negative physical or psychological effects
- Wet dreams are a normal part of growing up and do not mean a boy must have sex to avoid going mad.
- Love is not equal to sex nor is it about material goods.
- Young girls can be their own ticket to a better life and should avoid becoming dependent economically on men.
- If your boyfriend forces you to have sex, it is rape, even if you have said you love him or accepted gifts.
- You can be your own person. Negative peer pressure can be resisted.
- Males and females are equal and have the right to make their own choices about sex.
Many boys grow up with a sense of entitlement to sex and obedience from women. They believe that women are inferior to men and that girls do not have the right to refuse sex. Research in South Africa shows that many young girls' first sexual experiences are coerced.
- Physical development, sexual urges and peer pressure
Young men face a lot of pressure, especially from their peers. There is a deep need for a sense of belonging to the larger group. This group is relied on for factual information about physical development and sex. Many young boys are under pressure from their friends to prove their manhood by having sex with as many women as possible. Prevailing beliefs and lack of accurate information about normal physical development support this. There is an unchallenged myth that wet dreams demonstrate that men have an uncontrollable desire to have sex and young girls need to fulfill this. Adolescent acne is also attributed to lack of sex. Another myth is that boys will go mad if they don't have sex.
- Love is not equal to sex
There is a general perception amongst youth that boys want sex and girls want material goods in a relationship. Girls are told that sex is the only way to prove one's love for one's partner and that accepting a "love proposal" is therefore a tacit agreement to have sex. Many boys believe they have to have sex with their partners to prove they are men and to avoid physical and psychological harm. Also, if they have "invested" money in a girl, this entitles them to sex. In many instances, these beliefs, together with a socialised sense of entitlement to sex and obedience from women, results in rape, particularly date rape.
- Love is not about material goods. Young girls can be their own ticket to a better life
Young girls in South Africa often see little prospects for themselves and tend to view relationships, especially with older working men, as a ticket to a better life. As a result, many girls prefer partners who are able to provide them with material goods. This reliance on men, rather than themselves, sets the stage for economic and emotional dependence on their partners. This reinforces inequality within relationships and presents a major barrier to a woman's ability to leave an abusive relationship. Many young women also rely on their relationships to shape their own identity. They allow their partners to dictate to them about what they should want, what they can do and especially, when to engage in sexual intercourse. They compromise themselves in relationships and would rather endure unhappiness in a relationship, than articulate their needs and risk losing the relationship. We would like to encourage a sense of independence in young girls.
Refer to section on Youth Entrepreneurship/Personal Savings and SMME for linkages with the youth sexuality messages.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure*)
- To raise public knowledge on hypertension and its prevention and treatment. This involves dispelling beliefs that act as barriers to the detection of the disease as well as treatment compliance.
- High Blood Pressure, if not treated, has serious consequences such as stroke.
- You cannot feel if you have high blood pressure. The only way to know is to have your blood pressure measured by a health worker. (Know your blood pressure.)
- Living a healthy life can prevent and treat High Blood Pressure.
- lose weight if you are overweight
- cut down on salt
- cut down on alcohol
- cut down on fatty, fried food
- get more physically active
- use stairs instead of lifts
- walk briskly instead of taking the taxi or bus
- regular walks with friends
- Some people with high blood pressure will need to take medicines as well as live a healthy life.
- If you are taking medicines for High Blood Pressure, you need to take them every day of your life even if you feel well. This will prevent strokes and other complications. (This applies to lifestyle modifications too.)
- Living a healthy life as described above is good for everyone, not just people with high blood pressure. It can help prevent other diseases too.*
The series should
- Portray lifestyle modifications as fun and beneficial rather than a chore.
- Exercise should be integrated into daily life, e.g. walk to work; take stairs instead of lifts, social walks with friends etc.
- We should role model people asking health workers to take their blood pressures whenever they are visiting the clinic.
- Refer to hypertension as "high blood pressure" throughout although the popular public term for hypertension is "high blood".
* The specifics of lifestyle modification and the diseases it prevents (cancers, diabetes, etc) will be conveyed through the booklets.
Hypertension is extremely common in South Africa (and throughout the world) and is associated with a high rate of disease, disability and death. It has many serious complications, the most common being strokes (damage to the brain resulting in a paralysis, usually involving one side of the body). With hypertension, blood vessels become less elastic and often get blocked. As a result, the heart has to pump harder to ensure that blood reaches all parts of the body. This places a tremendous burden on the heart which eventually becomes exhausted. This leads to heart failure (the heart literally cannot pump properly) and heart attacks. The inelastic vessels can burst, and the resultant bleeding into the brain can cause a stroke. A stroke can also occur if the blood vessels to the brain become blocked thereby depriving the brain of oxygen. Other complications include kidney failure, damage to eyesight and premature death.
Hypertension is a major public health problem which not only has physical, economic, social and occupational impacts on individuals and their families, but places an enormous burden on the social and health services of South Africa. It results in costly medical care, impacts on productivity and absenteeism, and is a drain on personal and family income. Additionally, the drugs used to treat hypertension have their own significant side effects. Prevention of HT and its complications is therefore critical.
Hypertension is described as a "chronic disease of lifestyle" because it is commonly associated with a package deal of:
- unhealthy diet high in fat
- high salt intake
- excessive alcohol intake
- physical inactivity
Hypertension is a silent condition - there are no symptoms. Approximately six million South Africans are unknowingly walking around with hypertension and are at risk for all its complications. Despite this, it is very easy to detect and treat.
Hypertension can only be detected by a trained person measuring blood pressure with a simple piece of equipment known as a baumanometer.
Hypertension is known throughout South Africa as "high blood". This term has evolved through health workers informing hypertensive patients that they have a "high blood pressure measurement". It has become colloquialised into "high blood". However, this has inadvertently resulted in public perceptions of hypertension as a condition in which a person has too much blood volume in their body. This blood then rises to the head and can cause headaches, dizziness and blackouts. While the complications of hypertension can cause these symptoms, a person can be hypertensive for years without feeling a thing.
The fact that people believe hypertension comes with symptoms (feeling dizzy, headaches, "nervous tension" and generally "unwell") causes problems both for its detection and its treatment. Hypertensives tend to take their medication like headache tablets - only when they feel ill. They will also only modify their lifestyle habits around these periods, if at all.
In addition, patients often believe they are cured of the condition when told by a health worker that their blood pressure measurement is back to normal. They may stop taking their medications or modifying their lifestyles as a result. However, the pressure is controlled because of the lifestyle and medication and if stopped, the blood pressure will in all likelihood increase again. This is why hypertension is referred to as a chronic disease - it is ongoing throughout one's lifetime.
Ideally, every adult should be screened to make sure they do not have hypertension. However, in the context of limited resources, South Africa's Dept of Health has opted to encourage people to ask to have their blood pressure taken whenever they happen to visit a health care facility. Even the most basic health examination should involve a blood pressure measurement, just as one usually has one's temperature taken and pulse measured. It is a person's right to expect this procedure at any visit to a competent health worker.
Hypertension is one of the five major diseases identified in the RDP and by the Department of Health (DoH) as a priority issue.
Lifestyle modification advised by DoH for patient education:
- weight reduction
- salt restriction
- reduce alcohol intake.
- follow a prudent diet, low in fat
- regular, moderate aerobic exercise
- stop smoking
Lifestyle modifications both PREVENT hypertension developing in the first place, as well as prevent the complications arising once a person already has hypertension.
There are many barriers to people changing their lifestyles. Processed food, high in salt, is widely available and often cheap. People also prefer the way it tastes. Fatty foods, especially meat, are also widely available and popular. People experience difficulty finding the time to exercise and in today's climate, women especially, feel unsafe jogging or walking alone in public, especially after work or early in the morning when streets are dark due to lack of adequate street lighting.
Alcohol and smoking are also heavily marketed by industry as socially desirable habits and together with stressful lives, peer pressure and addiction, it is difficult for people to quit smoking or drink alcohol sensibly. These issues have been dealt with extensively in S.City 2 and 3. Soul City's lifestyle message will focus on encouraging people to become more active as part of their normal daily lives so as to present choices that are doable.
Personal Savings / Youth Entrepeneurship / Small, Medium, Micro Enterprise Message
- To encourage personal savings as an important mechanism to achieve one's dreams. To encourage a culture of savings.
- To encourage youth entrepreneurship
- Savings can help you achieve your dreams
- A good savings record can help you get a loan to open a small business. It will help show microlenders that you can be responsible with money.
- There are micro-lending institutions that can help people with lower incomes access credit to start a small business.
- You need to have a business plan
- Get a mentor (who has run his/her own business) to help you through the process
The booklets will look at budgeting and specific ways to save money.
The personal finance / be linked to our "youth sexuality" and "violence against women" messages in the following ways:
- Youth Sexuality
The series will encourage young girls to develop their own identities and aspirations and to see themselves (rather than a boyfriend) as their own "ticket to a better life". Personal savings and establishing a small business are means to become self reliant and independent.
- Violence Against Women
Young girls in South Africa see little prospects for themselves and tend to view men as their ticket to a better life. This sets the stage for economic dependence on their partners which in turn perpetuates relationship inequality and is a key barrier to a woman's ability to leave an abusive relationship.
School leaving youth face a lack of formal job opportunities and insufficient resources to further their education or gain the skills to improve their chances in the formal job market. The ramifications of this are often unemployment and potentially turning to less desirable options to earn income.
The reality is that for many people, starting their own business is the only option for survival. However, most people will struggle to get financial help (credit) from a bank (only cater for medium size and above businesses) and money lenders usually charge exorbitant interest rates. For many, applying to an NGO which specialises in micro loans for small business is the only viable option.
What are the issues related to eligibility for credit from a micro lending institution?
The application will be assessed most likely on the following criteria:
- viability of the business idea
- the presence of a business plan
- the right skills to run the particular business
- affordability i.e. the borrowers ability to pay back the loan
- seriousness of the applicant
What is a business plan?
A business plan is something that shows the microlender that the person requesting the loan has done some research into the viability of the business idea. For example:
- the need for their business within their target market
- the presence of competitors
- estimated income and expenses and a plan to pay back the loan
How can a potential borrower enhance their chances of a loan?
One of the increasingly important aspects of micro lending is the idea of the borrower sharing the risk as a "measure of their seriousness" i.e. being able and willing to put some of their own money at risk and being able to demonstrate some capacity to repay the loan. This can be demonstrated for example if the person can show that they have been able to save a certain amount each month and that they are willing to use this to help them secure a loan. This also demonstrates their ability to budget and to make this kind of financial commitment. These savings may act as a deposit or as surety. Either way, the person has demonstrated some seriousness, some willingness to put some of their own money "on the line" and have indicated some affordability. It is important that people can show a record of savings e.g. into a savings book, a stokvel, a burial society etc.
- To create awareness around the dangers of drinking and driving.
- To promote the adoption of safety measures by pedestrians.
- It is dangerous to drink and drive.
- Even two drinks can affect one's ability to drive.
- Wearing light coloured clothing and reflective armbands in the dark will help protect pedestrians from motor car accidents (trauma?) by enhancing their visibility.
- Pedestrians are at risk
A high proportion of pedestrian morbidity and mortality is related to the fact that motorists do not see them on the road when it is dark. Simply wearing lighter coloured clothing can enhance visibility. The Department of Transport will also be encouraging pedestrians to wear reflective armbands during hours of the day when visibility is low.
- Drinking and driving
Many people believe it is only dangerous to drive if one is perceptibly drunk. However, a small amount of alcohol can alter one's ability to drive.
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