I have started doing Dedication Walks in December 2019 to commemorate the victims of gender-based violence (GBV), as well as individuals who have managed to survive attacks of this nature.
In 2019 I have walked 28km for Claudia Lawrence Archary and 24km for Lois Wagner.
"You are such a precious soul Leilani and I'm speechless for your love and support for me. Thank you for honouring me in your journey and for giving me healing and feeling my pain. #ItWasNOTOURFault. Thank you Warrior." - Claudia L Archary
In 2020 I have walked 21k for Shantell Andersen, 20km for Leonie Marais, 35km for RB, 30km for Amor van der Westhuizen, 12km for MDP, 50km for Namuhla Project, 12 Hour walk to raise funds for Purple Foundation and the Comrades Virtual 45km to honour all GBV Survivors.
"I am truly blessed and inspired by you my lady. Much love and appreciation." - Leyonie Marais
Started with a 25km walk on the first Saturday in January in memory of Angelique Clark
who was raped and killed by her husband at the age of 25. On the Saturday after that, I walked 37km for Mandy Silva
, who was abused and murdered at the age of 37. The Saturday after that, I walked 22km for Chantel N. who was raped at the age of 22 and became pregnant by her attacker.
"She is my Shero. Guys today she dedicated her walk to me, I was 34 yrs when I was raped so she decided to walk 34 km. OMG I just cannot find the correct words to express how much I appreciate what she did for me today. Leilani you are such an inspiration to us as rape survivors, you are one of those I always draw my strength from when the going gets tough. Thank you very much." - Ntombesintu Mfunzi
This may seem like an unlikely way to pay tribute, but the survivors to whom I dedicate my walks have expressed that this acknowledgement of their tenacity and bravery fuels their drive to thrive despite the violence they experienced. It gives them hope to carry on.
My goal is to get a sponsor to support these Dedication Walks. There are certain costs, e.g. fuel and transport, involved on my end, and going forward I would also like these walks to coincide with a donation to a rape crisis centre in the name of women who died at the hand of their attackers, or a support package to their families on behalf of Yellow for Survivors.
I am walking the walk and talking the talk. My goal is to do 52 Dedication Walks all over South Africa this year. These are 52 times that I will be out there, visible to everyone who passes, and post about my experiences on various social media platforms afterwards. Prospective sponsors can benefit from exposure on these occasions and also associate their brands with a stand against gender-based violence.
I can never bring back the women who fell victim to GBV, but by dedicating my walks to them, I hope that I can inspire other survivors to take their healing and recovery one step at a time - to keep moving forward towards a brighter tomorrow and to celebrate how far they have come. Follow us on Facebook