I started doing Dedication Walks in December 2019 to commemorate the victims of gender-based violence (GBV), and survivors of attacks of this nature.
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.
On 4 June 2022 I will be walking in honour of Hillary Gardee who was abducted on 29 April in Mbombela. I will be doing regular walks throughout the remainder of the year.
2021 Started with a 25 km 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 37 km for Mandy Silva, who was abused and murdered at the age of 37. That was followed by a 22 km walk 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.
On 19 June Annaretha Naudé walked 30 km with me to deal with her past trauma.
Dedication Walks are not only healing for survivors of gender-based violence or the loved ones that might have lost someone to #GBV, but it is also a way for me to pay tribute.
On 7 August I walked to honour Olivia Jasriel. I walked 40 km, marking 40 years since her incident.
Olivia is a true inspiration and role model for those of us who need a reminder now and again that we can take our power back.
It was also a joy to have Olivia walk a portion of the route with me. '
In 2020 I walked 21 km for Shantell Andersen, 20 km for Leonie Marais, 35 km for RB, 30 km for Amor van der Westhuizen, 12 km for MDP, 50 km for the Namuhla Project, a 12 hour walk to raise funds for the Purple Foundation and finally, the Comrades Virtual 45 km to honour all GBV Survivors.
"I am truly blessed and inspired by you my lady. Much love and appreciation." - Leyonie Marais
In 2019 I walked 28 km for Claudia Lawrence Archary and 24k m 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.
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 for more information or contact us should you have a request for a dedication walk.