Category Archives: News Articles

Our First Road Trip

From 12-16 June 2015, fourteen high school girls from the Cape Flats travelled from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and back to find out what it is like to be a girl in South Africa.  Trained as youth reporters and photographers by the Children’s Radio Foundation and Iliso Labantu Photography Cooperative, the girls interviewed their peers along the way, visited innovative programs, and explored their own country.

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The bus was a safe and intimate space for girls to share their stories with one another.

The Rock Girls arrived home this week, bringing back stories of girls from across South Africa who face gang violence, rape, physical abuse, hunger, and lack of education.  They met girls in New Brighton who are too afraid to walk to school, girls in Helenvale who were raped on their way to school, girls in Smartsville who don’t even have a high school, so often drop out after grade 7.

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Arriving home in Manenberg. Photo by Lindeka Qampi.
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Girls sharing stories. Photo by Lindeka Qampi

They also swapped ideas on how to overcome these challenges, from taking self defense course to creating after school groups like Rock Girl to using social media to being human rights observers in their own communities.  Technology is a powerful tool.  Rock Girl is using it to keep girls safe, warning them by whats app about gang shootings and dangerous streets and comforting them when the gun shots ring out at night.  We plan on expanding this virtual support network to include girls we meet on our Road Trips and girls across South Africa.  And we will use this to share the Rock Girl Charter, setting forth what it means to be a Rock Girl.

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Girls from New Brighton joined us on the bus to speak about their experiences. Photo by Lindeka Qampi

This week the Rock Girls are writing exams, back to being high school girls. But for a few days, they were youth reporters, documenting the very real and very difficult challenges that so many young women face across South Africa. They saw elephants, they overcame their fears, they swam in the Indian Ocean, but most importantly, they broadened the circle of sisterhood, creating opportunities for girls from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape to become Rock Girls and make their own communities safer for all.  Rock Girl groups are being formed in Helenvale, New Brighton, Smartsville, and Bredasdorp as a result of their visits.

These girls are brave, they are resilient, and they want their voices to be heard.  Rock Girl is embarking on our second road trip to the Northern Cape in October to meet more girls, train more youth reporters, and continue to explore our own country.  We will visit the telescope at Sutherland, learn about the Xhoisan culture, and raft down the Orange River.  We will invite girls to get on our bus, to share their stories, and to sleep over with us under the stars.

Let the adventure continue.

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Rock Girl Mickaela Saul, 14, experiencing South Africa as a tourist in her own country.

We are grateful for your support of this test drive and hope you can continue to support our efforts and that you will share with your friends, family, and colleagues.  They can make a donation by going to our website, www.rockgirlsa.org.








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Remembering the young women of Bredasdorp

On Tuesday, 11 August 2015, Rock Girl unveiled our southernmost Safe Spaces bench at the Bredasdorp Magistrates Court, to honor Anene Booysens, Kayde Williams, and Elda Jafta, three girls who were raped and murdered in this rural community in the last two years. The bench is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and was sponsored by the SA Sheriff’s Commission and Jenn Langhus. After the unveiling, the girls traveled to the tip of Africa, where they sent out messages of support east, west and north to all those girls whose voices are not heard.  And they looked north, towards the Northern Cape, the destination for our next Road Trip in October 2015.

Cape Times: Murdered Girls Honored in Bredasdorp

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Rock Girl on the Road in the Media

The girls on the Rock Girl On the Road trip were fantastic youth reporters, recording other girls’ stories to advocate for solutions to the challenges they face, including gangsterism, violence, lack of schools, and teen pregnancy.

The trip resonated with people across South Africa, and the globe. Check out some of the press coverage:

Cape Times: ‘Rock Girls’ exchange messages of hope

Cape Times: Manenberg girls’ road trip spreads ‘safe spaces’ message

Times Live: Rock girls find peace away from a hard place

Cape Argus: Scared for our lives — just another day in Manenberg

eNCA: Girls are doing it for themselves in Manenberg

The Journalist: Young women tackling gang lands: Rock Girls of Manenberg

Mail & Guardian: Day one: Rock Girls leave gangland in their rear-view

The Herald (South Africa): Road trip a boost for Rock Girls

Cape Times: Rock Girls from Manenberg inspire peers in PE to start their own chapter

On the Road with Rock Girl

From 12-16 June 2015, fourteen high school girls from the Cape Flats travelled from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and back to find out what it is like to be a girl in South Africa.  Trained as youth reporters and photographers by the Children’s Radio Foundation and Iliso Labantu Photography Cooperative, the girls interviewed their peers along the way, visited innovative programs, and explored their own country.

_6150188
The bus was a safe and intimate space for girls to share their stories with one another.

The Rock Girls arrived home this week, bringing back stories of girls from across South Africa who face gang violence, rape, physical abuse, hunger, and lack of education.  They met girls in New Brighton who are too afraid to walk to school, girls in Helenvale who were raped on their way to school, girls in Smartsville who don’t even have a high school, so often drop out after grade 7.

DSC_7443-copy
Arriving home in Manenberg. Photo by Lindeka Qampi.
IMG_7683
Girls sharing stories. Photo by Lindeka Qampi

They also swapped ideas on how to overcome these challenges, from taking self defense course to creating after school groups like Rock Girl to using social media to being human rights observers in their own communities.  Technology is a powerful tool.  Rock Girl is using it to keep girls safe, warning them by whats app about gang shootings and dangerous streets and comforting them when the gun shots ring out at night.  We plan on expanding this virtual support network to include girls we meet on our Road Trips and girls across South Africa.  And we will use this to share the Rock Girl Charter, setting forth what it means to be a Rock Girl.

IMG_7665
Girls from New Brighton joined us on the bus to speak about their experiences. Photo by Lindeka Qampi

This week the Rock Girls are writing exams, back to being high school girls. But for a few days, they were youth reporters, documenting the very real and very difficult challenges that so many young women face across South Africa. They saw elephants, they overcame their fears, they swam in the Indian Ocean, but most importantly, they broadened the circle of sisterhood, creating opportunities for girls from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape to become Rock Girls and make their own communities safer for all.  Rock Girl groups are being formed in Helenvale, New Brighton, Smartsville, and Bredasdorp as a result of their visits.

These girls are brave, they are resilient, and they want their voices to be heard.  Rock Girl is embarking on our second road trip to the Northern Cape in October to meet more girls, train more youth reporters, and continue to explore our own country.  We will visit the telescope at Sutherland, learn about the Xhoisan culture, and raft down the Orange River.  We will invite girls to get on our bus, to share their stories, and to sleep over with us under the stars.

Let the adventure continue.

DSC_6802-copy
Rock Girl Mickaela Saul, 14, experiencing South Africa as a tourist in her own country.

We are grateful for your support of this test drive and hope you can continue to support our efforts and that you will share with your friends, family, and colleagues.  They can make a donation by going to our website, www.rockgirlsa.org.