Strike a woman and you strike … Rock Girl, a campaign to help women become stronger and take back their communities.
Founded by human rights lawyer India Baird and Karina Turok, Rock Girl is a grassroots movement created to inspire girls to be agents of change by taking back their space and forming pockets of safety within their own communities in Cape Town and across South Africa – while raising awareness about violence and how to deal with it.
An initiative by a group of young girls inspired Rock Girl to help give them their own safe space within their primary school in Manenberg.
Called “Safe Spaces” it unites girls with artists, designers and architects to create a bench – and symbolic pocket of safety.
Each bench will have a sister bench in another community, with a toll-free number where callers can get info about the project and community organisations as well as listen to stories of those affected by violence.
Four people can sit on the bench and must face each other and watch out for each other, as women and men, girls and boys, must both face one another and watch out for each other in day-to-day life.
The first Safe Spaces bench was showcased at the Design Indaba in 2011 to wide acclaim, which you’ll find at Freeworld Design Centre in Waterkant street while its sister bench will be in Khayelitsha. This bench base was designed by artist Tim Lewis and the mosaic by Lovell Friedman, in partnership with The Red River Primary school community.
The messages on the flower petals and the headdresses were taken from local women. The eyes are from African culture and represent women and their role in watching out for each other. The healing hands, from San culture, suggest both the need to stop violence and to help each other. The color red represents blood, violence, and courage and pink was brought in to suggest femininity and girlhood.
Rock Girl connects girls to champions in government, business, the media, sports, fashion and the arts, who can help them design, implement and fund their projects. It uses human relationships, technology, design and social media to advocate for the causes of girls and women and influence policies that affect their lives.
Watch out for benches popping in surprising places as this inspiring project rolls out.
Better still, ‘’be the change you want to see’’ – thank you Gandhi, and support them.