It began with silence.
To commemorate the beginning of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (GBV), we chose complete silence on our social media accounts for 24 hours, calling on 16 important entertainers, influencers and activists to join us in making this statement.
There are 2 reasons behind our decision: the first is that with no online noise, deafening but powerful silence is sometimes the best way to get people to listen; the second is that our silence is symbolic of the silence that is imposed on women and children through abuse that discourages its victims from speaking out. Our message is that progress in the fight against GBV can come only through men and women alike letting their voices be heard, sending a clear message that we have had enough and will do what we can as a financial institution to ensure that money, in particular, is not used to silence women.
Now the silence is over, and the voices of South Africa’s women will be heard. Throughout the next 16 days, we will highlight the courage of those who have overcome GBV.
Violence affecting women and children is one of the most, if not THE most, pressing problems South Africa faces as a nation. According to SaferSpaces , between 25% and 40% of South Africa’s women have experienced abuse at the hands of a partner, and a 2016 Optimus study showed that 40% of young South Africans have experienced some form of abuse in their lifetime.
GBV is such a prolific and common problem in society that sometimes silence seems easier. Perhaps the issue seems too complex, or too unsettling, to talk about or even acknowledge.
Our message this month is that focusing on the struggle to end GBV does not have to be a conversation that is hopeless. We believe that taking positive action is more important than simply contemplating how truly awful this problem is in silence.
That’s why this month and beyond, we are focusing on content that doesn’t simply highlight the problem of GBV but plots a way forward, ways for us to unlearn, learn, grow and overcome cycles of abuse to produce future generations of happier, healthier adults who have no desire to control or hurt others.
Our content will be built around a series of events. We will be hosting a weekly Twitter Spaces session to offer support and advice on issues related to GBV, an exhibition of photography that lends a voice to the stories of South African women who have overcome abuse and, lastly, Run for Her, a virtual run on 11 December to spark not only awareness but also community action against GBV.
Stories of GBV are rooted in unresolved trauma and pain but are not without hope. We are inspired by the stories of survivors who have shown incredible courage not only in overcoming their past traumas but also in using these traumas to help fuel their current success and guide them towards a better future.
We hope our activities this month and going forward serve not to simply highlight a problem but, through accessible solutions and demonstration of the power of actions, big or small, when taken, can ensure that tomorrow is better than today.
Let’s move towards this brighter future, together. #ItCanBe
If you have been a victim of abuse or know someone who is, please reach out to one of these organisations:
Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
GBV Command Centre: 080 042 8428
Legal Aid: 0800 110 110
LifeLine South Africa: 0861 322 322
National Counselling Line: 0861 322 322
National GBV Helpline: 0800 150 150
South African Depression and Anxiety Group: 080 021 2223
South African Police Service: 10111
Tears Foundation (free SMS helpline): *134*7355#
Childline South Africa
LifeLine South Africa
National Shelter Movement of South Africa
Sonke Gender Justice
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Digital transformation has become a familiar term over the last few years as more businesses embrace digital solutions, technological advancements, and the benefits of taking businesses online. With Black Friday and festive season shopping almost upon us, Standard Bank’s innovative SimplyBlu offering provides the solution for small businesses to make the most of upcoming sales and boost their business.
Creating a digital presence and access to online customers
Standard Bank’s eCommerce-in-a-box solution – SimplyBlu – offers everything small businesses need to operate smoothly and efficiently online. As businesses adjust to new customer demands after months of pandemic-related lockdowns, a sustainable, cost-friendly, and future-forward business solution has never been more critical.
SimplyBlu includes no-code website building features, allowing business owners to customize their online store with built-in themes and templates, as well as e-Invoicing services, and various online payment options powered by MasterCard Payment Gateway Services.
As a bonus, SimplyBlu is offering free Google Ads to the value of R500 for first-time signups. This will help businesses establish a presence on Google to attract more customers, generate leads, and drive traffic to their online stores.
“Businesses are definitely realizing the benefits of operating online,” says Head of Card and Payments at Standard Bank South Africa, Nelisa Zulu. “During the COVID-19 period, our SimplyBlu platform has seen over 100% growth, with one of our customers – fashion designer Candy Smith – making more than seven times her initial daily sales after just three months on the platform. Even as lockdown restrictions ease, it’s crucial for companies to keep innovating and adapting to the new world of business. SimplyBlu allows them to do just that – all on one safe, secure platform.”
South Africa’s eCommerce boom
In a recent report, global business data platform Statista projected that the South African eCommerce market will reach over $5 million in revenue by the end of 2021. And that by 2025, there will be over 33 million eCommerce users in the country.
“It’s essential for businesses to be able to tap into this growing market and reach online customers on their preferred shopping platforms. Brick and mortar stores still have their place, but by giving customers the option to do business with you online, you’re increasing your chances of thriving in today’s increasingly digital economy,” adds Zulu . “Standard Bank is committed to breaking down the barriers to the online entry for small businesses so that every SME has the opportunity to grow and prosper after nearly two years of pandemic-related challenges.”
While consumers have also faced financial strain, this doesn’t seem to have diminished their appetite for eCommerce. Last year’s Black Friday results saw a 60% increase in online transactions, with local payment processing service PayFast reporting a 283% increase in total payment volumes that day, compared to normal peak shopping days, such as payday at the end of the month.
As lockdown restrictions ease and consumers start planning their festive-season gifts, increased economic activity can be expected in the coming months. By signing up on the Standard Bank SimplyBlu platform, businesses can be prepared for the potential sales boost to make it a truly prosperous time.
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