Arts in Action is a Gender Based Violence research project by Vusizwe Foundation in collaboration with Newcastle University (UK) and GAP Solutions.
The Project

The Project

Our project will be using the arts not only to improve response services for survivors, but, responding to South Africa’s national crisis, to strengthen legal and policy frameworks by drafting the country’s first customary law initiative outlining ways to combat GBV through traditional means. AiA will improve the economic power of women through its arts-based entrepreneurial training, raise GBV awareness through arts exhibitions and provide support to survivors through arts-based workshops. AiA research will serve as a test-bed for building support for wider GBV policy changes across South Africa, particularly in rural regions. COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in a terrifying increase in GBV across South Africa, which, in further deepening gender inequalities, makes projects like AiA ever more urgent.

Target Audience

Target Audience

Gender Based Violence unduly affects women and girls and is systemic, and deeply embedded in traditions, cultures and organizations in South Africa. Arts in Action works with various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, law enforcement, government, civil society and others deeply engaged in to addressing this widespread problem.

Our Partners

Our Partners

AIDS Alliance

Government health-initiative; partnership ensures our objectives are approached in synergy with health systems.

Department of Social Development

Government, manages/oversees SA poverty-relief projects; partnership ensures project has long-term structural impact.

AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Urgency Grant

Supporting cutting-edge research and innovation that address the most urgent global issues affecting developing countries.

Newcastle University

Developing solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing the world today in core areas of health, culture and the creative art.

Vusizwe Foundation

NGO, managed/owned by AmaZizi; supports sustainable projects that address economic, social, environmental, cultural issues.

Dutywa Law Enforcement

Plays central role in preventing GBV in AmaZizi; partnership promises sustainable change regionally.

The Team

The Team

Nkosi Jongisilo Pokwana ka Menziwa

HRH Prince Jongisilo Zanozuko Pokwana ka Menziwa is a head of the Pokwana ka Menziwa Royal House, Chairperson of the Vusizwe sika Menziwa Foundation, a trained arts administrator. He is a Cultural Development Strategist, Oral Historian & Historical Researcher, a Skills Development Facilitator as well as qualified Training Assessor.
Prince Pokwana ka Menziwa is a published author of the history book “AmaZizi, The Dlamini of Southern Africa”, and he is a writer of regular insight editorials for a regular contributor to well-established newspapers The Star as well as Daily Dispatch. He is regular commentator on Heritage and Culture for national radio stations such as SAFM.
He is Currently enrolled with GIBS – Gordon Institute of Business Science (University of Pretoria) for the Bloomberg Media Africa Programme for Executives (2016).

Nanette De Jong

Nanette De Jong is a senior lecturer at the International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University. Her research reconsiders the critical role that the practical arts—music, theatre, poetry, visual arts—can play in resolving conflict, promoting equality and advocating change. She utilises an action-based methodology designed to encourage local actors to take active roles in gathering evidence and building research agendas, thereby repositioning them as producers rather than subjects of research, a method that has made positive impacts on the fight against HIV and GBV.She has published in such journals as Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Black Music Research Journal and Journal of Historical Sociology, and her book Tambú: Curaçao’s African-Caribbean Ritual and the Politics of Memory (Indiana University Press 2012) was shortlisted for the Albert J. Raboteau Prize for Best Book in Africana Religions. De Jong is also an accomplished classical and salsa flautist, serving as substitute flute with the Chicago symphony Orchestra, and performing with such salsa greats as Johnny Pacheco and Celia Cruz.

Aqualine Suliali

Aqualine is the Founder and Managing Director of GAP Solutions a Johannesburg-based pan-African consulting firm with a network of experienced consultants, researchers, and communicators who provide clients with flexible, high quality services and outputs. The consulting firm is working across multiple sectors including working with those deeply engaged in affordable housing. The overall goal of GAP Solutions’ work is to see an increase of shared value investment throughout Africa: more players and better products, with a specific focus on the bottom of the pyramid. Aqualine is the Chairperson for the Frida Hartley Shelter for destitute women and Children.


The Arts in Action project relies on arts-based interventions to provide support to GBV survivors, shift societal norms by promoting gender equality and behavioural change, strengthen law enforcement, improve economic power of women and take steps to enhance GBV legal and policy frameworks. It is the first primary preventative and support strategy for GBV in rural Eastern Cape (EC), a province where an average estimated 80% of women fall victim to violence.


Arts in Action recognizes that GBV in South Africa is a national crisis that requires a different lens to support the President’s call for innovative systems as well as to ensure the success of the National Development Plan Vision 2030, where “people living in South Africa feel safe and have no fear of crime…Women can walk freely in the streets”.


The project’s principle objectives feed into South Africa’s development initiatives and policy-making agendas via the president’s five-point emergency plan to halt GBV.

  • Strengthen the criminal justice system
  • Enhance legal and regulatory reforms
  • Ensure adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence
  • Improve economic power of women




GBV is the shadow pandemic of the COVID-19, with lockdowns across South Africa limiting opportunities for GBV survivors to distance themselves from their abusers and access external support. Statistics show that women and girls are already vulnerable to gender-based violence in South Africa, and the fears and tensions surrounding this pandemic, not to mention ongoing lockdowns, are deepening the risks they face in their homes and communities.

AiA is organising actions that respond to this disturbing surge in GBV during COVID-19, introducing new, innovative ways to support survivors through social media, technological solutions and the arts.  AiA is committed to ensuring no one is left behind because of COVID-19.

AiA on Twitter

AiA on Twitter

While the government has committed substantial resources in the fight against GBV, little detail has been provided about how those funds will be allocated. Without transparency, there can be little accountability.

Click here to read more:

#Femicide #GBV

Gender Based Violence — another pandemic faced in South Africa. How did the COVID-19 lockdown affect GBV? Find out in @andikitchin 's article:
#GBV #studentarticle #spheresofgovernment @HamiltonCele

Load More...

(C) Arts in Action (AiA) 2020. All Rights Reserved.