By: Mpho Koka

Musa Maleke’s Badumetse Batho Centre in Sebokeng, Gauteng, has become a place of refuge for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors to seek help and learn sewing skills.

Maleke, 40, is the founder and manager of Badumetse Batho, meaning “the people have agreed”, a non-governmental organisation established in 2018.

The NGO has 24 workers – comprising 20 volunteers, three social workers and an administrator.

The centre offers counselling services, support groups, and skills programmes for GBV victims. The organisation also provides psycho-social support to members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have been victims of hate crimes.

Maleke said their organisation educates communities in and around Sebokeng about GBV through their door-to-door campaigns.

He said most of the victims they help are women who have been abused by their partners.

“In 2020, a woman came to us and told us her husband is beating her and their children. They lived five houses away from our centre. We organised sessions for both of them and during one of the sessions the husband started hitting the wife in front of the social workers. We immediately called the police and while we waited for them to arrive, we grabbed the man and locked him in one of our cars. It was a bad situation that you wouldn’t want to see,’’ Maleke said.

He added that the husband was found guilty of assault and handed a 10-year life sentence which was suspended for five years. That means he was never jailed.

Maleke said they get visits from victims on a daily basis.

“We do containment of the victim. We take down their personal details and the story of the incident that they experienced. The victim then sees a social worker who will give counselling and assess whether the centre can assist or refer them to a specialist, depending on the nature of the case,’’ he said.

Maleke said the organisation helps victims to open a case with the police or get a protection order once they have taken such a decision.

“We always try to make sure a parent or friend of the victim is part of the counselling sessions. This is to help the victim to open up and be comfortable to talk about their ordeal,’’ said Maleke.

Their social workers do follow-up sessions in the homes of the victims to assess healing progress.

“We also have support groups for our surviving victims where they can talk about the violence they have suffered and how they are coping with it,’’ he said.

After realising that most women who are abused by their partners are unemployed, Maleke introduced a skills development programme which teaches victims how to sew.

“Helping victims of abuse keeps me active. I have the passion and love for helping others. I see a lot of success in what we are doing. We even get great feedback from the people we help. Some who were previously in an abusive relationship and managed to get out of it through our assistance, tell us about how they got a job or went back to school,’’ said Maleke.

Maleke said there are many platforms victims can use to seek help.

“There are many organisations, homes for victims, and hotlines available to assist. Victims who are unemployed and are worrying about what they will eat if they report their abusers, should know that there are centres that are able to take care of them,’’ said Maleke.


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