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  • Writer's pictureSAEP

Hero #3 - Bridging Year Alumni says NO to Gender-based Violence

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Gender-based violence remains one of the biggest challenges in South African society. The South African Education Project (SAEP) programs support ECD centers and schools in areas classified as GBV hotspots with high GBV incidence and high number of sexual assault cases reported annually.

SAEP provides psychosocial support in all its programs with qualified social workers who identify, counsel and refer cases for further intervention to mitigate the impact GBV on learner academic performance.

School-related gender-based violence results in sexual, physical, and/or psychological harm to girls and boys. Studies show students who had experienced gender-based violence were more likely to report low school achievement and an increased school dropout rate compared to non-abused youth.

A study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that schools and universities were highly vulnerable to GBV. All of these forms of violence, including bullying, should be conceptualized as gendered, as they are affected by gender-related stereotypes that persist in society.

South African Education Project Bridging Year student, 21 year old Sikhokele Peter has taken a heroic stand to raise awareness about GBV in his community.

"Last year when I was still doing the Bridging Year program, one of our tasks was to go and volunteer at a organisation. I went to an organisation called CESVI foundation who deals with a lot of social issues. We did the workshops with men to discuss issues leading to GBV. This was beautiful and a huge learning curve for many. Growing up as a man in the society you are never thought how to deal with your emotions. We are taught to be tough and this has led many of us “men” ignoring our emotions. This is one of the main reasons men end up becoming physically abusive - they are not able to communicate the way they feel and end up expressing those emotions in a burst of anger".

YES! I want to help a hero like Sikhokele change the future!

Sikhokele Peter was born and raised in Philippi, Cape Town, and is currently doing his first year at South African College of Business (SACOB). A private college that focuses on business studies. "Change does not come over night" Says Sikhokele

He was first introduced to the South African Education Project by the principal of Ithemba Labantu in Philippi.

"I heard of SAEP from Ithemba Labantu's principal, Mr Octavius Colquhoun, who is more like my academic mentor. He likes being updated about my academics. When he heard I have not found any school in 2020, he referred me to SAEP for the Bridging Year program. I have been forever grateful for being part of SAEP because I learnt a lot about the importance of giving back to community while gaining valuable work experience. Since then, I never looked back. I gained confidence to speak in public (addressing large crowds) and I now do that more often and it has become part of me as one of my skills set. Honestly, when I joined Bridging Year program I never expected it to be life changing. I joined because I wanted something to keep me sane and little did I know I am actually where I needed to be to gain experience and learn life lessons." says Sikhokele.

He shared the following insight and advice:

"Students usually go directly to university or colleges after high school and this for me is not always ideal. Challenge yourself to know yourself . Self-awareness is particularly important for young adults and adults. Tertiary education can be another challenge and become overwhelming for students. SAEP is there to help people like us “young adults” get mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for tertiary education and at the same time get to know strengths and weaknesses.

I would not be where I am right now had I not joined the SAEP Bridging Year program. South Africa is slowly but surely becoming a better place and SAEP is playing its role in ensuring that change. While a high percentage of men are seen as perpetrators of gender-based violence, a group of young men in Philippi have said “no” to GBV and femicide. One of those men comes from SAEP and that man is me".

YES! I want to help a hero like Sikhokele change the future!

On 28 January 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed three new laws aimed at strengthening efforts to end GBV in South Africa: the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act, and the Domestic Violence Amendment Act.

YES! I want to help a hero like Sikhokele change the future!


Campaign or Hero-related queries:

Mr Shane Everts, Head of Communications and Fundraising, South African Education Project (SAEP) 082 537 8721,

Technical Education-related queries:

Mr Donavan Fullard, Chief Executive Officer, South African Education Project (SAEP)


A multi-cohort program promoting access and better education outcomes among children and young adolescents in Philippi.


Beyene, A.S., et al. 2019. Gender-based violence among female youths in educational institutions of Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Available:

Moosa, F. 2022. Explained: the gender-based violence laws in South Africa. Available:

Ntseku, M. 2022. Call to focus resources on areas identified as GBV hotspots in the Western CapeIOL | News that Connects South Africans. Available:

President Cyril Ramaphosa assents to laws that strengthen fight against Gender- Based Violence. 2022. Available:

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