CAT's march in Soweto

On the 23rd June 2007 the OLIVE LEAF Foundation South Africa had a youth event for our CAT’s (Community Action Teams – a group of learners that are trained as Agents of Change to influence positive peer pressure in their schools and communities). The day was started with a door to door campaign where the CAT’s engaged families and community members in looking at why Abstinence is the safest HIV Prevention method.

10 000 pamphlets were distributed in White City and Orlando, both communities in Soweto. Shortly after the door to door, the CAT’s marched to Orlando Power Park. As they marched they displayed placards with Abstinence promoting messages they chose themselves such as:

  • "I have rules for my dating relationship, do you?"
  • "I’m not gonna be someone’s practice ground"
  • "If your partner opposes your decision to abstain, let them go coz they just came to have sex"
  • "Men respect woman with morals"

The youth also received placards written by HIV positive people on how they are living with the virus, some of their placards read:

  • "I'm trying to make the best out of my HIV+ status but honestly it hurts" Anonymous
  • "I now have a commitment of popping ART’s everyday of my life; I wish I could have just waited – Anonymous"
  • "I have fear that I might infect my partner, how great was sex gonna be, had I just waited until I got married - Anonymous!"
  • "HIV has made me look down upon myself, pity I can’t turn back; but you still have the chance. Indeed ABSTAIN now & smile later - Anonymous"

The March was held to reinforce the abstinence behavior among the CAT’s and to create awareness among other youth in Soweto that when they decide to abstain, they will not be the only ones and in fact abstinence is for those who are truly cool! 800 youth and adults participated in the march.