ZAZI, which means "Know Yourself" in Zulu, is a nation-wide campaign that creates awareness among women on issues of relationships, health and well-being. Funded by the U.S Agency for International Development, ZAZI was developed by Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa and it's being implemented by an array of civil society partners across the country. It encourages women and girls to draw on their inner strength, power, and self-confidence to know themselves and what they stand for to guide their decisions about their future.
Present at the launch were Deputy Minister of Social Development and ZAZI ambassador Ms Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu, UJ Vice-Chancellor Prof Rensburg, Director for HEAIDS Dr Ramneeck, poet and gender activist Lebo Mashile and Nikkie Mboweni, UJ's first female Student Representative Council President.
Speaking at the ceremony, Bogopane-Zulu called on all women at the university to take advantage of the government and civil society programmes aimed at empowering them on issues of health and well-being.
"The ZAZI Campaign is meant to achieve zero new HIV/Aids and TB infections and deaths due to TB, HIV and Aids. It is also meant to reduce the percentage of young women engaging in sexual relationships with older partners".
Echoing Bogopane-Zulu's sentiment, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Rensburg told students and activists that the issue of women empowerment on and off campus remains his priority. "I always ask myself when I see a sugar-daddy with a young girl whether he has a daughter of that age".
Violence was another major concern. Prof Rensburg told the meeting that, after a shocking rape on one of the UJ's campuses last year, he banned all bashes until he could see a student movement of men which will address issues of sexual gender-based violence on campuses.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. UJ Gender Specialist Prof Lauren Graham told the audiences about the incidences of rape in the country and urged them not to look away.
"One out of 7 women is raped every day in this country and that's a total of 150 cases of rape daily" Women are more vulnerable to HIV infections and we need to start some conversations about this".
For Nikkie MBoweni, Zazi is valuable tool for women's empowerment. "The launch of ZAZI in our University intensifies our efforts to fight the abuse of women and children. Let's say no to unprotected sex, let's say no to sugar-daddy relationships."