4 Statues to mark the day
Strike a woman; strike a rock
Pass laws went away
Women are still your livestock
4 Statues where you called, “Amandla”
We, the people, answered, “Awethu”
Now you defend Nkandla
And ask us to vote for you
4 Statues to honour the brave
I am woman. Hear me roar.
I am still a slave
Wondering what we all fought for.
4 Statues for our mothers
Who birthed a new nation
Sisters and brothers
Still waiting for salvation.
Karmilla Pillay-Siokos was born in Durban in 1974. She lived in an Indian community at the height of the apartheid era. This instilled an awareness of the necessity to fight social injustice. She supported the struggle to bring power to the people. After the elections in 1994 she became disillusioned as it became apparent that power was merely changing hands not actually being shared. She spent six months working on a kibbutz where she learned the meaning of communal living and true gender equality. She came back to South Africa in 1996 with new inspiration to complete her academic studies, majoring in Psychology and English. She also completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, believing that education is the key to changing the world.
She has been home schooling her children since 2001 . During that time, she has become involved with the International Community of Slutwalk Organisers, in her capacity as the organiser of the Slutwalk Johannesburg rape protest march. Slutwalk Johannesburg also collects clothes and survivor support packs for Love 167 to distribute to underprivileged communities and for the Tears Foundation to assist survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Karmilla has also worked with the TEARS Foundation, helping to develop LifeBoard – an educational board game that initiates and guides discussion about rape and sexual abuse in a safe space. She wrote the facilitator’s guide for the board game. Her work with the TEARS Foundation also includes PR work in person and in writing.
As a rape survivor herself, she is very outspoken about her personal experiences as well as the social factors that perpetuate rape culture. She strives to create awareness about the damaging effects of victim blaming by participating in PSAs (public service announcements) as well as radio, TV and newspaper interviews.
She is a public speaker, participating in awareness campaigns at large corporates such as Anglo American. She has an unconventional approach to discussing rape from the perspective of victim blaming and female sexuality. She challenges social perceptions in an attempt to change rape culture to create a safer world for all our children.