Solulele Tinzi (18) from Harare in Khayelitsha is a Peer Educator for Rape Crisis.
The first weekend in December Solulele attended her third youth camp with Rape Crisis at a camp site near Paarl. Here she met the newest Peer Educators from Khayelitsha.
”Being a Peer Educator means that others at school can come to me if they have been raped or sexually abused. I will then help them with different things, like reporting to the police, get counselling at Rape Crisis and so on’’, she explains.
Solulele lives with her mother, two sisters, aunts and cousins in Harare, Khayelitsha. She has just finished grade 11 and has been a Peer Educator for three years now.
”I like it. I learn a lot, like gaining more confidence”. Solulele smiles.
”Do you want me to sing for you after this interview?”
At the youth camp the teenagers attend work shops where they talk about issues like gender differences and myths.
”If the boy wants to have sex, you have the right to say no”, says Solulele and continues: ”If he forces you to have sex, you must leave him”.
– Is it rape if your boyfriend forces you to have sex with him?
”Yes, for sure! Rape is when you force someone to have sex with you.”
– When did you learn that this is rape?
”Before starting as a Peer Educator, I didn’t know. I have learned it from Rape Crisis. Even though you’re wearing short skirts it is not ok for boys to do what they want with you. A girl can wear whatever she wants. As long as you are cool with your clothes, it is fine.”
According to Solulele, the boys at the camp have changed their behavior and attitudes as well.
”They learn how to treat a woman. Respect her”, says Solulele.
– How do men show you respect as a woman?
”Like not touching my butt. A girl with many boyfriends is usually called slut, bitch or whore. It is not all right! That is not to show us respect.”
At the camp the Peer Educatiors do different outdoor activities, like hiking in the mountains.
”When you’re hiking, you have a goal. My goal tomorrow – when we go hiking – is to get to the top of the second mountain.”
Solulele has goals in her life as well. After graduating next year, she wants to study either psychology or music at university.
”To be able to go to university I need a scholarship, so I have to work hard the next year”.
– What kind of man do you want to marry?
”First he has to be handsome and successful. Then he has to care for me”, says Solulele.
– Do you want to stay at home with the children after you have married?
”No, I want to work. Both the man and the woman should bring something to the table. I’ll make sure not to be pregnant– because then I won’t be able to have an education, but just stay home and take care of the children. I want to study hard so I can be whoever I want!”
And then she sings Mary Mary’s song ”Can’t give up right now” for me. Her voice is strong and confident:
”There will be mountains that I will have to climb and there will be battles that I will have to fight…”
This work is made possible by The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation
and Development (BMZ) and OXFAM Deutschland.