The South African History
One of the early adopters and promotors of TiB is Rev Jenny Sprong. She recently shared some of the history with us:
"I am sending you a short version of the Story of TiB in South Africa and a bit of its earlier story ...
I was introduced to "Thursdays in Black" in 1991 in Singapore at a World Federation of Methodist and United Church Women.
I had already been working at Diakonia for two years when we started the TiB Campaign officially in 2008. My colleagues were used to seeing me in black on Thursdays.
So, at Diakonia, immersed in gender justice in my work as their social justice coordinator, I felt the urgent need for us to do something about the scourge of violence and rape in SA specifically, and so we launched the TiB Campaign during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign in 2008 under a slightly changed logo - the button still looked similar to the one I had received in Singapore but the wording changed from 'demanding a world without rape and violence' to 'towards a world without rape and violence'.
Diakonia was working very hard at being positive and engaging, so we wanted there to be an element of invitation in the logo - we do not tell people what to do! We invite them on board!
On the Diakonia Thursdays in Black Facebook Page: 'Since 1991, the then Social Justice Coordinator (Jenny Sprong) of the Diakonia Council of Churches in Durban, had been promoting Thursdays in Black Campaign in South Africa. During the 16 Days of Activism Campaign of 2008, Diakonia launched the campaign officially in Durban and since then several organisations and individuals have come on board. Our aim is to raise awareness on the high levels of abuse and violence against women and children and our long-term vision is to eliminate this scourge off the face of the earth.'
The roots of ‘Thursdays in Black’ are derived from an Argentinian organisation, ‘Mothers of the Disappeared.’ Women gathered on the streets wearing black sashes to honour their friends and family who were disappearing, being raped and abused under the military dictatorship. Wearing black is considered an outward symbol of mourning (in some cultures) and a way to peacefully campaign for women at risk.
You can also view an interview with Jenny at https://youtu.be/UNPv8Px6SdE