The South African Federation of Trade Union (SAFTU) is in utter shock and saddened by the untimely passing of Bab’ Patrick Shai. Bab’ Shai is an example that fallible as we are, human beings, the hope for change is realisable.

Unlike many who not only refuse to acknowledge their deeds of women and children abuse, but unrepentantly immersed in the patriarchal ethos of male domination by any means including physical abuse still insist on asserting their ‘manhood’ through abuse of women and children; Bab’ Shai confessed his nefarious deeds, apologised to the public for the abuse he put his family through and as a demonstration of his transformation and repentance, became an ally in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Patrick Shai was a living example to men that GBV is not an ingredient to building a family. That it is the opposite of violence against women and children which is a key ingredient to building functional and unbroken families, the results of which benefits our communities and the society as a whole.

He worked with SAFTU in our campaign to highlight the scourge of GBV, and cultivate the seed of new “man” towards a society free of GBV. Equally, he worked with our affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in their gender structures for this common purpose: to raise awareness on GBV, and educate men that domestic violence and GBV at large, are destructive blocks for building families worthy of their name and building a better society.

Indeed, his active involvement as a combatant against GBV and his sheer activism, in which he did not even require remuneration to get involved in our campaigns, cannot go through the annals of history not only unnoticed, but saluted.

SAFTU will continue fighting for a world that Bab’ Shai fought for in the latter part of his life. The liberation of women from double oppression (gender and race) and exploitation, has began to take a centre stage in all our organisational and political work.

In the wake of the triumph of people of Burkina Faso against the French colonialism, one of its foremost leader and revolutionary, Thomas Sankara, said “… there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women.” Indeed, ours is the total liberation of women from the clutches of patriarchy, the discrimination of racism and the economic exploitation. This necessarily, means we must tie our struggle for immediate reforms in women’s favour, with the goal for socialism.

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