Liquor traders to address gender-based violence in township ‘tavern dialogues’

Project to celebrate women's ownership role in the tavern industry while raising men's awareness of GBV and femicide

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The National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) has announced the planned launch of the “Tavern Dialogues” on Women’s Day to combat gender-based violence and femicide (GBV&F). The council said the initiative is a joint effort in the fight against both GBV&F and to ensure that alcohol is traded responsibly and consumed sensibly.

During the months of August and September the council will visit ten taverns in Orange Farm in Gauteng, where the highest number of gender base violence cases have been reported in the province.

The nation-wide programme seeks to bring the issue of GBV&F to the fore within township communities and empower both men and women to drive change as well as address GBV&F in their communities.

Lucky Ntimane, convenor of the NLTC, said taverns are cornerstones of the township economy. He believes they play a vital role in promoting responsible drinking, including becoming champions in the fight against gender-based violence in their communities.

“Taverners play a critical social and economic role in their communities. A large number of tavern owners are women (54%), some of whom who have been exposed to GBV within their community, their families and their friendship circles,” Ntimane states.

The NLTC, which represents over 34,500 liquor traders in the township space, has partnered with Rise Against GBV, the South African Police Service, Distell, and Consumatech to launch the “Tavern Dialogues”.

The event will take place at the Slotjhile Pub and Shisanyama on Women’s Day, Sunday, 9 August in Tembisa. The programme is expected to start at 10:30 in the morning until 12:30 the afternoon.

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The dialogues, convened by subject matter experts, will consist of facilitated engagements with groups of men from township communities in the tavern environment. In these group settings, the topic of GBV&F will be discussed to get men to understand what constitutes GBV&F and how to address it.

Ntimane pointed out that the country is faced with two pandemics, covid-19 and GBV&F.

“The taverners are committed to working with the government and the rest of the alcohol industry to save businesses and jobs in the sector. At the same time, we want to ensure safe and responsible trading and the sensible consumption of alcohol during our joint effort in the fight against both,” he said.

Director of corporate and regulatory affairs at Distell, Bridgitte Backman, believes that gender-based violence and femicide are societal issues that impact every aspect of life.

Speaking on behalf of the leading producer and marketer of alcohol in Africa, Backman said that the issue is not only devastating for victims of violence and their families, but also entails significant social and economic cost. As a result, it requires a multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders.

“As Distell, we recognise that failure to address this issue has wider implications for society in general and for women specifically. We are therefore proud to partner with The National Liquor Traders Council and support the Taverners Dialogues initiative, which is especially important given the context of Taverns being predominantly female owned and run.

“We also understand that financial freedom is a key weapon in tackling GBV&F. This is evident in many cases where affected women aren’t able to leave abusive relationships because of reliance on their abusers. Distell has and will continue to stand by these proud women who serve their communities,” she added.

During women’s month Distell will also distribute over 2000 care packs to shelters that support women and victims of gender base violence.

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