In an effort to raise awareness of violence against women and girls in Africa, The Parlotones will quite literally scale a mountain. The South African quartet are preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on March 5 as part of the Africa UNiTE campaign, an initiative that brings together more than 14 UN organizations mobilizing for this cause.
“It’s a serious social issue, and alarmingly, appears to be on the increase,” Parlotones guitarist Paul Hodgson tells Music for Good. “If young girls and women can realize it’s not something they have to tolerate or suffer in silence, we can take steps toward curing this problem. It’s obviously not something that can be solved overnight, or even in one generation, but small steps forward are better than nothing at all.”
The Parlotones are joining other celebrities and members of the media for the climb, and are expected to reach the peak of the mountain on March 8, which coincides with International Women’s Day. The objectives of the Africa UNiTE campaign are three-fold: first, to prevent violence against women and girls; second, to provide services to survivors of violence; and third, to promote justice and end impunity for those who have committed violence against women.
Oftentimes women and girls in Africa have to travel on foot for miles each day to collect food and water for their families. During these journeys they are frequently attacked and sexually assaulted. Also, girls living in refugee camps are often forced into early marriage because they have no means of supporting themselves, and are sexually assaulted and abused by their partners.
“The purpose of the climb is to raise awareness about the issues, and seek commitments for change from all African governments to be implemented by 2015,” Hodgson explains. “It’s a great initiative, a good cause, and as a bonus we get to do something we probably would never have got around to doing on our own.”
The Parlotones, who have also served as spokespeople for Live Earth and Earth Hour, have been preparing to hike Africa’s highest mountain by hitting the gym and doing mini-hikes in between tour dates. “We’ve been walking around our neighborhood with backpacks and hiking boots, and spent some time in the gym trying to exercise our legs and build stamina,” says Hodgson. “We’ve also been doing small things like taking the stairs instead of the elevators. We’ve only had about a month to prepare, and a week of that was spent on tour in America, so hopefully we’re ready! We’re all determined to make it to the top though, and they say your mental attitude is half the battle.”
Shortly after completing the hike, the band will head to Austin to perform at SXSW in support of their forthcoming album, “Journey Through the Shadows.”
For more information about Africa UNiTE and to find out how you can get involved, visit http://www.africaunitecampaign.org.
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