Welcome to the second edition of You(th) for You(th) for 2023!

March was Human Rights Month and, gosh, what a month it was.

It started with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) once again missing a deadline on the eradication of pit toilets at all schools in South Africa. And, not a week later, little Langalam Viki was found dead in a pit toilet at her school in the Eastern Cape.

Yes, an investigation is ongoing but we believe that the pit toilet should not have been there in the first place. So, we will not stop calling on the government to eradicate all pit toilets at schools immediately.

March was also a month of protests with the student protest at Wits University followed by the strike by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), and then the EFF’s National Shutdown.

The right to peaceful protest is enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution and must be protected. And that brings us to the theme of this month’s You(th) for You(th) – Protect the Protest!

Amnesty International South Africa will always call for restraint from all parties, in particular the use of excessive force, such as rubber bullets or tear gas. Check out Amnesty International’s call for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty further down in this issue and tell us what you think.

Everyone has the right to life, and we believe the government isn’t doing enough to protect this right – no-one is safe in South Africa. So, don’t miss out on our Executive Director’s powerful op-ed about this.

We also published our annual report 2022/23 on The State of the World’s Human Rights, and one of its findings is that the right to life and security of the person is still violated daily in South Africa, 29 years after the fall of the apartheid regime.

Orange Farm’s Digital Disruptors have been hard at work once again, fighting for the Right to Life of women and girls. Their impactful installation at a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) hotspot in the township is one of this issue’s highlights.

Read about South Africa at the UN and check out the (free!) online courses you can take to learn more about protecting the protest, standing up to GBVF and the laws that the police are supposed to follow.

We hope you enjoy this edition of You(th) for You(th)!

If you have ideas of what you would like to read about, please send us an email with your suggestions to

Matla! Ke a rona (the power is ours!)

#Protect The Protest!

Protests kicked off in March with students at Wits University protesting against historic debt preventing some students from registering, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) residence cap of R45,000, and rules on registering with the Hardship Fund, among other things.

It then became almost a month of protests in South Africa with Nehawu’s protests at healthcare facilities following the student protests, and the EFF Shutdown on 20 March.

Section 17 of the South African Constitution provides that: everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.

The exercise of such rights shall take place peacefully and with regard to the rights of others.

Amnesty International South Africa will always call on all parties to exercise restraint when protesting, also on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and security companies to refrain from using excessive force.

But the right to peaceful protest is under attack.

In recent times in South Africa, the right to peaceful protest, which is enshrined in the Constitution, is constantly threatened by the excessive use of force and the use of rubber bullets by police.

This has resulted in injuries and, in some cases, death.

And governments around the world are also restricting people’s right to protest, because too many people in power fear change. Too many want to maintain the status quo. Too many want to keep people divided.

By coming together and ensuring that everyone – especially the marginalised and discriminated against – can participate in protests, we can create a more just and equal world. Together, we must protect the protest wherever it is restricted, whenever it is at risk.

We must come together to create a world where people can peacefully demand change without persecution.

Amnesty International published My Eye Exploded on 14 March where it outlined the how security forces across the world are routinely misusing rubber and plastic bullets and other law enforcement weapons to violently suppress peaceful protests and cause horrific injuries and deaths. It calls for strict controls on their use and a global treaty – Torture-Free Trade Treaty – to regulate their trade.

Want to know more about Amnesty’s call for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty? Watch this video.

Warning: The video contains depictions of violence and distressing scenes.

Across the world peaceful protesters face waves of repression from police and military forces in deliberate attempts to crush dissent. We @amnesty are calling for a global treaty to regulate the trade in policing equipment.




Do you think South Africa should be part of the Torture-Free Trade Treaty?

Eradicate pit toilets now!

The DBE again missed a deadline on the eradication of pit toilets on 28 February 2023…

Watch Alicia Jooste, Amnesty International South Africa’s Activism Coordinator – Mobilising, on eNCA as she calls on the government to provide an update on the progress of the eradication process.

The DBE had a media briefing on 26 March saying that it aims to eradicate all pit toilets from schools by 2025, but it has still not replied directly to our letter to Minister Motshekga, or published the most up-to-date number of pit toilets in schools to their website.

This is unacceptable. No child’s life should be lost because of the failures and shortfalls of the department.

We will not stop calling on the government to eradicate all pit toilets immediately until they have done so.

Join us by taking action here!

Everyone has the right to life

The right to life is enshrined in Section 11 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. But the government is not doing enough to ensure that everyone is safe, not even when at school.

Every single life lost had value and each person made the ultimate sacrifice – death – whether in the past at Sharpeville or the Soweto uprising, or recently by bringing corruption and injustice to light, or by dying in a toilet that shouldn’t have been there.

Shenilla Mohamed, Amnesty International South Africa’s Executive Director, wrote a powerful opinion article, which was published in the Daily Maverick on Human Rights Day, 21 March 2023, which marks the day 69 people died at Sharpeville in 1960.

Read the article here.

Watch our Campaigner Sibusiso Khasa speak on eNCA on Human Rights Day on the Right to Life and the government’s failure to ensure a safe environment for all people living in South Africa.

Amnesty’s Annual Report:
The State of the World’s Human Rights

Amnesty International published its Amnesty International Report 2022/23: The State of the World’s Human Rights on 28 March, and one of its findings is that the right to life and security of the person is still violated daily in South Africa, 29 years after the fall of the apartheid regime.

Violent crime continues to plague South Africa, and the right to life and security of the person, enshrined in the Constitution as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), is violated daily with murder rates soaring, mass shootings, femicides, and assassinations continuing unabated.

We believe the government is continuing to fail on creating a safe environment for all, and we call on it to fulfil its mandate to protect the human rights of all, preventing further deaths, and allowing all people in South Africa to live their lives fully, freely and without fear of losing their lives.

Read more about what we had to say and the report as a whole here.


The Digital Disruptors are at it again! Disrupting Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) in Orange Farm, a township located outside Johannesburg in Gauteng.

This time they have been building an impactful installation – The Pink Spot – in a GBVF hotspot in Orange Farm which will act as a safe space and where people can also access information on how victims and survivors can access legal services and counselling and their rights in navigating the criminal justice system.

The Pink Spot was activated on Thursday, 6 April 2023, so check it out if you are in Orange Farm!

Why? Because women and girls also have a right to life, and GBVF should be stopped once and for all.

Stay tuned for what’s to come on all the Digital Disruptor social media platforms.





The Digital Disruptor’s hard at work!

Human Rights in Southern Africa

Zimbabwe: Eight years on, authorities yet to give update on the disappeared journalist and pro-democracy activist

Eight years after journalist and pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara went missing authorities are yet to give progress report on their investigation efforts to ensure his family receives justice, truth, and reparation.

The continued failure of Zimbabwe’s authorities to launch an effective investigation into Dzamara’s disappearance is a travesty of justice and it sends a chilling message about the security of others who demand accountability from the government.

Amnesty International is re-iterating its call for the government to set up an independent judge-led Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances around the abduction of Itai Dzamara, with powers to subpoena witnesses.

The findings of any inquiry must be made public and those suspected should be brought to justice. Members of the public with information to contribute to the Commission through submissions must also be allowed to do so and ensure of their safety and protection.

Itai Dzamara was abducted on 9 March 2015 by five men while he was at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb. His abductors are said to have accused him of stealing cattle before handcuffing him, forcing him into a white truck with concealed number plates, and driving off. He has not been seen since then and Amnesty International believes he is a victim of enforced disappearance.

South Africa at the United Nations

South Africa appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) on Tuesday, 28 March 2023, and presented its response to the outcome of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a review of its human rights.

Amnesty International South Africa made an Oral Statement to President Ramaphosa during South Africa’s National Statement.

Watch Amnesty International South Africa campaigner Sibusiso Khasa deliver our oral statement to the UNHRC below.

South Africa also started its next tenure as a voting member of the UNHRC.

Sibusiso wrote an opinion article in Business Day on how South Africa can, and should, show leadership on human rights globally as well as at home. Read it here.

Human Rights Courses You Can Do Online (And For Free!)

Online Course:
Confronting and Countering Gender-Based Violence

Join Amnesty International in the fight against gender-based violence.

Enrol in our new online course on confronting and countering gender-based violence and gain the knowledge and skills to make a difference.

The Right to Protest

Learn why protest is protected by human rights, how the freedom to protest is under threat throughout the world, and how you can defend your right to protest.

Police and Human Rights

The course will give you a basic understanding of the international human rights laws and standards applicable to the police.

Through exercises, Amnesty research material, videos, and self-directed learning resources, you will take a detailed look at a wide range of topics related to police and human rights.


Thank you for your contribution to Amnesty International South Africa and to this newsletter.

We look forward to engaging with all of you throughout 2023.

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Want to start an Amnesty chapter?

Amnesty International South Africa (AISA) has 10 university chapters and five community chapters. If you would like to start a chapter in your community or on campus, please contact AISA’s Activism Coordinator: Organising Jaclyn Modise on for more information.


Ready to stand up and defend justice, freedom and equality for all? Believe in people power? Eager to use your passion for human rights to help shape our movement?

Our members make change possible. They’re the people we call on whenever and wherever human rights are under attack. Their actions, big and small, put pressure on governments, institutions and decision-makers to do the right thing.

Digital Disruptors

Campaign locationSouth Africa

Amnesty International South Africa in partnership with Canada Fund for Local Initiatives is looking for 10 passionate young activists from Alexandra and Orange Farm in Gauteng to deliver a fully funded GBV digital campaign.

Interrupt Gender-Based Violence

Campaign locationSouth Africa

In South Africa a woman is murdered every three hours. We need more people reporting crimes of GBV and calling out the toxic social and cultural norms that exist at every level of society.