Press release

South Africa: Government Should Address ‘Culture of Rape’

Freedom House calls on President Zuma to urgently address South Africa's epidemic of gender-based violence.


On Women’s Day in South Africa—coming three days after women activists silently protested in front of President Zuma as he was delivering a speech —Freedom House released the following statement:

“President Zuma’s government should urgently address South Africa's epidemic of gender-based violence and listen to the South African women who are demanding real change," said Lynn Fredriksson, director for Southern Africa programs. “From the president down, everyone should remember that Women’s Day marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 march in which 20,000 South African women protested apartheid South Africa’s excessive control over their movement and the general abuse of their rights."


During President Zuma’s August 6 speech on the results of nationwide local elections, four women activists stood in front of the podium, holding posters, some saying “I am 1 in 3,” and “Remember Khwezi.” The women sought to attract attention to the one in three South African women who suffer sexual abuse during their lifetime. The women activists also spoke out for the woman named Khwezi who 10 years ago alleged she was raped by the president, charges of which he was acquitted.  The women’s demonstration has since become known as the #RememberKhwezi protest. 

 South Africa is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2016 and Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.