Soul City Institute Embarks on New Journey

Over twenty years after it’s founding, one of South Africa’s foremost social justice communications organisations, the Soul City Institute, has shifted their focus to zone in on social justice for young women and girls and the communities in which they live.

Soul City Institute, as it’s popularly known, made its name primarily as a social and behavioural change communications agency that housed a number of programmes under its banner - amongst them Soul Buddyz, Soul City, Kwanda and Phuza Wize – mainly around the areas of HIV and AIDS and its related drivers.   In its new incarnation, the Soul City Institute will continue to address social issues, now through the lens of how they impact on young women and girls, who’ve been identified as a severely at-risk population group.

The story of the South African woman certainly merits concern – as found by the HSRC,  the 2015 unemployment rate estimate is 27.7%, compared to 24.4% in men.  A worryingly high percentage of South African women have experienced some form of emotional, economic, physical or sexual violence in their lifetime (77% in Limpopo, 51% in Gauteng, 45% in the Western Cape), and 40% of female youth headed households don’t have anyone employed, compared to 19.7 in male youth headed households.

“In many real respects, the issues that Soul City Institute has historically targeted have remained pressing – research conducted by the HSRC has found that in as much as new HIV incidences have declined between 2002 and 2012, it remains at worryingly high levels, especially amongst young women and in informal settlements. Of real concern, accurate knowledge about transmission and prevention of HIV is low.” Explains Ms Lebo Ramofoka, CEO of the Soul City Institute. “That being said, we’re excited about the new direction the organization is embarking on, and remain committed to furthering the goals of social justice that this institute was founded to address.”

It is against this background that the Soul City Institute is launching its new direction, which will find expression in a number of programmes focused on young women and girls.

The first of these new programmes is Rise – which will manifests as a talk show, young women and girls club and popular club magazine.   The Rise talk show, which launches on SABC1 on the 16th August, is a vibrant platform that affords young women unmediated the opportunity to openly and unapologetically discuss topics that affect and impact their lives. Critically, the show will seek to create a dialogue between young girls and their parents.

The talk show is paired up with the Rise Girls Club, a nationwide initiative that has young girls and women forming social clubs where they meet to provide one another with an enabling and protective environment, and share knowledge geared at reducing HIV/AIDS infections and creating an environment for them to achieve their dreams.

As part of the new direction, the Soul City Institute will also be changing its corporate identity, adopting a new logo that reflects the organisation’s new course and feminist direction.  

The organization will continue to work collaborate with partners  in the public  and private sector, communities and non-profit organisations to create an enabling and supportive environment for young women to thrive, and ensure that gender issues find dominance on the national agenda.

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