“Anchor of My Heart”: Charting the course to end violence in South Africa

Eight South African filmmakers collaborate in the production of Anchor of My Heart .

The production team answers questions from the audience at the film’s premiere.

The “Global Girls” from Global Girl Media discuss the filmmaking process.

Question and answer session opens dialogue about gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is sadly a reality in the lives of a startling number of South African women.  Whether physical, sexual, economic or psychological, GBV is a violation of human rights that has lasting consequences for women and their communities.

Social norms, such as the widespread belief that rape is not a crime, are at the root of the problem of GBV in South Africa. Changing these norms to end violence against women requires support from both women and men in South Africa.

To help broaden the dialogue on GBV, the High Commission of Canada to South Africa partnered with Global Girl Media to produce the film, Anchor of My Heart. Creating a film that would aid discussions with youth – especially boys – on gender roles, respect for women, and to challenge the social norms that put the safety of women and girls at risk was the goal of the partnership.

“Reel” stories from South Africa

The short film profiles inspiring female and male South African community leaders who are helping to improve the lives of women by working towards ending GBV.

Eight young South African women, each aspiring to enter the filmmaking industry, produced the film. This project offered the girls an opportunity to develop their filmmaking skills, from concept development to scripting and editing. It also helped to broaden their awareness on issues related to GBV and to experience the impact that a positive male role model can have in women’s lives firsthand.

This small film with a big heart has had a great impact on these young girls,” said Isabelle Rorke, the film’s production manager.

Before shooting the film, the eight girls were asked whether they had any male role models in their lives. Not one girl had known a male who had made a positive influence in her life. Filming Anchor of My Heart was both emotional and transformative for the girls because it introduced them to men in their communities who are making a difference as advocates against GBV.

Premiere of the film

To commemorate South African Human Rights Day and International Women’s Day, the High Commission of Canada hosted the premiere of Anchor of My Heart at the Market Theatre Laboratory in Johannesburg.

In his opening remarks, Bradley Bélanger, Canadian Chargé d’Affaires, highlighted the importance of local projects such as this film, which has helped empower young women and raise local awareness about GBV.

A question and answer session followed the film, which provided the audience an opportunity to engage with the filmmakers on a variety of topics, ranging from their own experiences with GBV and the filmmaking process.

The High Commission will feature the film in its future outreach activities with youth and the community to open dialogue about ending GBV in South Africa.

Canada is proud to support initiatives, such as Anchor of My Heart, that are helping to empower women and girls around the world. Ending gender-based violence is essential for a more stable and prosperous world.