Because if we want to make those differences, it has to be one of us. If we want to change the policy, we need to do it ourselves.

* 24.08.1972 in Cape Town
Nationality at birth: South Africa
Country of struggle for human rights: South Africa
Area Type From To Location

One Billion Rising South Africa Coordinator

Location: South Africa
Reason for entry:
Function / Activity:

Founder and Chairperson of the René Roman Search and Rescue Group

Location: Lavender Hill, South Africa
Reason for entry:
Function / Activity:

Founder and Director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu

Location: Lavender Hill, South Africa
Reason for entry:
Function / Activity:
Human dignity
Right to life, freedom and security
Entitlement to legal protection
Right to social security
Right to education and training
Right to education and training

INTRODUCTION

Lucinda Evans is a South African women’s activist and feminist. She is known for her radical activism and in 2008, she founded her own organisation against gender-based violence, Philisa Abafazi Bethu. She regularly leads nation-wide protest marches, was one of the speakers at the #AmINext protest in front of the South African Parliament and coordinates One Billion Rising South Africa.

 

THE STORY

Lucinda Collette Evans is a South African activist and feminist who was born on August 24, 1972 in District Six in Cape Town. She spent the first years of her childhood in District Six until she was relocated to Lavender Hill, a township in the Cape Flats (about 20 minutes by car from Cape Town) as part of the “forced removals” during apartheid. She already had to experience discrimination and injustice early in her life and started volunteering for the Red Cross at the age of 9.

Lucinda Evans still lives in Lavender Hill today, together with her husband Franklin and their two children Caitlin and Liam. Lavender Hill is still considered one of the most dangerous areas in Cape Town, with a very high crime rate due to gang violence, drug and gun trafficking, and abuse against women and children. Apart from volunteering with the Red Cross, Evans also volunteered with various care and support services for children and women during her school years, such as Rape Crisis Cape Town. After graduating from the Cape Town College of Education in 1996, Evans worked in various gender-based violence and HIV prevention initiatives in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, and for a short time led various projects with women and children at the New World Foundation organisation, which is also based in Lavender Hill.

In 2008, after once again witnessing a man abusing his wife on the open street, she finally decided to start her own NGO Philisa Abafazi Bethu; “Philisa Abafazi Bethu” isiXhosa and means “Heal Our Women”. In her organisation, Lucinda Evans supports victims of domestic violence, rape, and abuse of all kinds. While her initial focus was on supporting women and children, Philisa Abafazi Bethu now also works with men, non-binary people, and entire families.

Evans started her organisation in 2008 in her own living room and garage in Lavender Hill; initially with just a support group for women and an after-school programme for children. Since its founding, Philisa Abafazi Bethu has grown rapidly to offer not only women’s support groups and after-school programmes for children, but she also has a group for abused seniors, a youth group, a baby saver, a legal clinic, a women’s shelter, and a safe house for members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have been victims of sexual violence. Both safe houses are currently the only emergency shelters in the region that accept people regardless of skin color, social background, prevalent medical conditions or addictions. In 2017, Lucinda Evans helped the family of Rene Roman to search for the missing 13-year-old who was abducted, raped, and killed by one of their neighbours, and has since formed a search team on the 13-year-old’s behalf that regularly goes out when children and women go missing. Philisa Abafazi Bethu’s team is also growing steadily as a result of the growing tasks, and Evans now works with several social workers who offer daily counseling to people from Lavender Hill and the surrounding communities. Since 2020, Philisa Abafazi Bethu‘s projects—with the exception of the women’s shelter—are all under the umbrella of the Philisa Abafazi Bethu Family Center in Steenberg.

Furthermore, Lucinda Evans has been politically active against sexual violence and femicide all her life and has initiated and participated in many protest actions in South Africa. For instance, she is the initiator and coordinator of “One Billion Rising South Africa” and was instrumental in initiating the protest action “Am I Next? / #amInext?” in which people from all over the country protested against the increasing sexualized violence in South Africa. Lucinda Evans has received many awards for her activism. In 2016, she was awarded the French Legion d’honneur by the French ambassador, and in October 2019, BBC named her one of the 100 most influential women in the world.

 

Author: Laura Hartmann

 

Sources:

http://www.philisaabafazi.org/index.php

Personal conversations with Lucinda Evans

 

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