Namibia's Anti-Femicide Protesters Want President to Act

15th October 2020

National protests against gender-based violence have attracted attention locally and internationally, with President Hage Geingob implored to intervene. Hundreds of young people, mostly women, took to the streets in Windhoek, shutting down shopping centres, and calling for businesses to join the fight. So far, the protesters have handed a petition over to parliament with a list of 24 demands, including that a state of emergency be declared and that Gender Equality Minister Doreen Sioka and her deputy, Bernadette Jagger, resign.

The protesters in Windhoek have taken on the street because they were enraged after news emerged that police believed to have found in the dunes of the port town of Walvis Bay the remains of Shannon Wasserfall, a woman in her early 20s who had gone missing in April.

Demanding justice, like-minded campaigners swiftly mobilised through social media to protest against sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). Marching through the streets of Windhoek and other Namibian cities, they pledged to keep protesting until substantial political action was taken to address femicide, rape and sexual abuse.

“We just want to be able to go out of our house after 6pm and feel safe,” said Tobias, an outspoken 20-year-old activist in Windhoek.

Leebus Hashikutuva, another protester in the capital, described the #shutitalldown movement as a series of actions meant to disrupt public life nationwide.

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