The Rock Girl Safe Spaces Campaign is a public art and education initiative that is partnering with artists and designers to design and create symbolic and real safe spaces around South Africa. The campaign was inspired by a group of Grade 7 learners from Manenberg. The first Safe Space bench and the first Safe Space Room were created there in 2011 – and these young people have now prompted the creation of an additional 40 Safe Space benches and spaces around the city of Cape Town. The campaign is now spreading to Johannesburg, where the first Safe Space bench, sponsored by Investec, was installed in 2013. Each Safe Space bench or room in an urban area has a sister bench in a more disadvantaged community, school, NGO, or institution. In 2013, Rock Girl was chosen as a World Design Capital 2014 partner, and is currently implementing four WDC2014 projects around Cape Town.
Rock Girl creates real safe spaces in some of the most dangerous, challenged communities in Cape Town. At the same time, Rock Girl hopes to create symbolic safe spaces to raise awareness and unite men and women, boys and girls in the effort to end violence against women and girls.
Rock Girl believes the creation of safe spaces breaks down cultural, racial, economic, social, and professional barriers. This forms the foundation of our work. Rock Girl does not dictate what the spaces, benches, or projects should look like but instead allows designers and community members to work together towards a shared vision. Rock Girl is a youth-led initiative, and all of our projects are inspired by the needs of young people.