Asonele Melapi

Nokwanda Patocka GBVF Foundation

What does your company do?

The Nokwanda Patocka GBVF Foundation was founded in King Williams Town, in November 2021 after the brutal murder of my sister Nokwanda Patocka. The foundation aims to conscientize society at large, Women, Children, the Elderly, People living with Disabilities and LGBTQIA+ Community in particular and abused men on matters related to gender-based violence and femicide. We use innovative programs and solutions to create awareness targeting Schools, Universities and Communities in and around the rural Eastern Cape and in areas that are in need in the Country. The Foundation operates mostly in the Eastern Cape but with specific focus on the poverty stricken Districts we have branches in the first 2 i.e., Buffalo City, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Sarah Bartman, OR Tambo, Amathole and Alfred Nzo. We operate nationally as have cases in other provinces and are not limited to only the Eastern Cape. The number of cases related to gender-based violence is increasing on an alarming rate across the Province and Nationally and it is imperative that organizations like ours take a firm position in raising awareness and assisting those who are vulnerable, especially learners at schools and Minor Children. As a Founder and Chairperson I am not only focused on fighting GBVF in the NPO alone, I took a holistic approach in running the Not Again holistic programs against the Scourge of GBVF. We offer Self-defense Classes, Youth Networking Opportunities, Women Job Placement Programs, Elderly Food Parcels Support, Reproductive Health Awareness, Referral Centre to Professional Health Care, Gang Resistance Programs, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Awareness and Little Survivors Camp. We wish to open a Skills Development Center in underprivileged communities where Victims and Survivors of GBVF may learn skills that may develop them, whilst empowering them to be independent and leave the toxic relationships that lead to femicide. I also hope to turn the house my sister left me into a white door shelter, for women like her as well as children. We an unfunded Npo and we strive to fight GBV and Femicide no matter of our circumstances.

What is your biggest success?

Throughout this journey of fighting GBV and Femicide my biggest success is each time I see a perpetrator being sentenced and placed in prison. The justice system is so flawed that we celebrate what should be normal for the Victims and Survivors of GBVF. Apart from these big wins I have achieved awards since I have started this journey. I am the reigning Nelson Mandela University Herald Citizen of the year winner 2023 for GBV, Inside Politics 100 South African Shining Stars 2023 for Civil Society and Advocacy and I have recently won the South African Cities Network Youth-Led GBV Competition and are in the final stages of the competition. Regardless of these accolades we have not received the recognition I had hoped for or the financial capacitation that we so desperately need to do more in our underprivileged communities.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

In the Advocacy I do, I have an on going attempted murder case in George, Western Cape and I take the Bus each time the perpetrator appears as I do not have a vehicle of my own anymore. I sold it so that I could fund the Npo and continue the purpose of the work I do in advocacy for victims and in memory of my late sister. Through this sacrifice I incurred a dangerous situation where this one time I had to take the bus in October 2023 when 2 men attacked me, mugged me and tried to rape me whilst I was waiting at the Intercape Station bus stop to come back to the Eastern Cape. I was lucky I could defend myself, up until the security guards came from across the street. I thank God I am alive and I was not harmed physically. Even so the trauma took its tall on me and it took me sometime to deal and heal from that horrific experience. I imagine how my victims feel every day and that is why I cannot give up, even though that experience has made me reluctant to physically help people outside my area, because it is not safe to travel with public transport to cases. I face so many challenges in this line of work, as well as perpetrators threats and court cases opened against me, as they say I do not leave them alone and I assist the vulnerable victims they want to still abuse. These cases are all dismissed as they hold no grounds in court but they do however affect my time and drain me. Through this work I have found healing and and purpose as what happened to my sister had a ripple effect in my family and we lost 2 more loved ones due to her brutal death. I managed to turn pain into Purpose and empower women, children and victims of GBVF so to me it is worth it.