Hivos Southern Africa

Southern Africa

Sexual Rights and Diversity

The world will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (`SDGs) - which include the target of ending AIDS by 2030 - without young women attaining their right to health.

World AIDS day on December 1 is always a global opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV. Back in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. As Hivos, we acknowledge our support and respect for people living with HIV and remember the many people we have worked with and those who have needlessly passed away. 

Day 4: Hivos caught up with Sixolile Mbalo; a survivor, author and GBV champion, at a conference in South Africa. Sixolile shares how she took back her life and made the best out of her situation. She shares how sharing her story has freed her from its negativity and her work helping others reclaim their lives after their violent experiences.

About Mbalo

"Mbalo’s book, Dear Bullet, is a jarring memoir of how she was raped, shot in the head and left for dead in a toilet by a man she knew in October 2001. She was 14.

Culture and religion play a big role in how society reacts towards Gender Based Violence (GBV). Patriarchal systems stem mainly from cultural and religious values and as such in their observance and practice make it difficult for members of society that experience GBV to seek punishment for perpetrators. Women often are the ones to justify domestic violence and make efforts to try and cover up the violence or seek non judiciary solutions or interventions.

In a digital society, friends and enemies are made all over the world via social sites and relationships are solidified or broken by 'hashtags' or 'selfies'. While online media has served many well, there has been a tragic global increase of its misuse through online victimization and gender targeted attacks. Perpetrators no longer need to look in the eyes of their victims as they spew violent, emotionally and sexually charged speech.


Hivos joins the rest of the world in the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), a time when we stop and reflect on GBV and how we are working towards making it end, how society deals with victims and in what new forms it has shown itself in a continuously evolving world.

At age 15, Tanaka (not her real name) was forced into sex work in order to fend for herself. Now aged 17, Tanaka has been through what can be simply described as hell, something a child like her ought never to experience. She fell pregnant hardly a year after she started engaging in sex work, and her tales of violence at the hands of men are harrowing and heart rending.

Tanaka lost her baby a few months after giving birth, a memory which evoked tears in her eyes as she recounted the story recently.

Cervical cancer is a cancer that arise from the cervix. It is due to an abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body (the cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus or the womb). Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which can be passed on through any type of sexual contact.

Hivos joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, commemorated annually on 23 May 2017. Obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor in the absence of timely and adequate medical care, leaving a woman incontinent (lacking voluntary control) of urine or faeces or both.

The World Health Day commemorated annually on April 7 was this year themed:  Depression: Let’s Talk. For Africa, the theme was highly appropriate highlighting a pervasive problem that is largely shrouded in silence, especially among adolescents, and needs to be urgently brought out into the open to save lives.