For COVID-19 updates, visit the official government website for free.

Vodacom Now!

If you have a friend or a family member who you suspect might be dealing with gender-based violence in their home, or if you are the one dealing with it, the concept of using a secret keyword or phrase is important to know. 

According to a news article on, during the national lockdown in France many women found themselves trapped in a home with a violent partner. So the French government encouraged women to go to a pharmacy, one of the few places you could go during their lockdown in March this year, to seek help. If the women didn't feel comfortable or safe enough to ask for help, they could ask for a 'mask 19' and the pharmacist will know that they need to call the police. 

When the national lockdown was implemented in South Africa many local women found themselves in a similar situation, being trapped in their home with a violent partner. Caroline Peters, a  co-ordinator of the Cape Flats Women's Movement, wanted to find a way of helping at risk women in Cape Town. She applied the same secret safe word concept she heard was being used in other countries. 


Many women messaged her the phrase "Are you selling koesisters?" This was the secret way of sending a message asking for help. The secrecy was to ensure the woman's safety, by not alerting her partner who might be reading her messages. Koesisters, are a Cape Flats delicacy, a spicey doughnut, dipped in syrup and covered in desiccated coconut. Caroline doesn't sell any koesisters, but during the lockdown she would respond to them saying that she has a food permit to deliver them which would allow her to get the woman's name and address. She remained in contact with the women, checking in with them periodically to chech if they still needed a koesister delivery. If the situation escalated she would share the information with aurhorities who would go to the house and to intervene. 

We all need to find ways to #BeTheLight.

Self-defence expert Warren Ho explains how looking deeper than the surface is a way to #BeTheLight.

Stand for change, make your pledge and #BeTheLight

Source: CNN.comThe Mail and Guardian, Pexel. 

Suggested Posts

Vodacom and the drive for inclusion for all

Vodacom | 4th Jan 21

View more
Across 2020 we spoke to six people, all working at Vodacom, about their condition and what it’s like working for Vodacom. These are their stories. 
Vodacom 531 Followers

Interview: Karen Smit

Vodacom | 4th Dec 20

View more
At the age of four years old, Karen Smit was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and she shares her story with us. 
Vodacom 531 Followers

Interview: Gavin Fouche

Vodacom | 17th Nov 20

View more
Gavin Fouche was born with a rare condition known as Moebius syndrome. He shares about his journey dealing with it and the support he received working at Vodacom for the last 20 years. 
Vodacom 531 Followers