Pictured above: Neil Matthews, founder of ‘Love Wins’

Neil Matthews, a 46-year-old businessman from Gardens, Cape Town, is pioneering a vital initiative to combat gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa—where the rates of violence against women and children are among the highest globally.

At his day job at YAXXA, a business solutions company, Matthews is leveraging his professional resources and personal passion to spearhead the “Love Wins” campaign through a crowdfunding effort on BackaBuddy.

Alarming Statistics

South Africa faces a severe crisis in gender-based violence, a fact underscored by statistics provided by Women For Change (WFC).

The femicide rate in South Africa is five times higher than the global average, with one woman murdered every 2.5 hours. In the year 2022/23 alone, the SA reported 4,169 women and 1,192 children murdered. Additionally, there were 43,037 rape cases and 53,888 sexual offences reported to the police, with an estimated more than 95% of sexual offences not reported at all. According to WFC, this ranks South Africa fourth in death rates from interpersonal violence among 183 countries—the highest rate outside of a war zone.

Why ‘Love Wins’?

For Matthews, ‘Love Wins’ is more than just a slogan; it is a principle of action. “It means that before you act, think, and lead with love, because love wins”’ he explains. This belief came into sharp focus when Matthews felt compelled to act against what he describes as ‘a battle between good and evil.’

The turning point was his encounter with staggering statistics about GBV during a meeting with Women For Change (WFC) over five years ago. The overwhelming need for action led him to eventually launch his campaign on BackaBuddy, dedicating his efforts to raising funds and awareness for a pivotal battle against gender-based violence.

Choosing the Right Allies

With his campaign, Matthews has chosen to support Women For Change (WFC) and the School of Hard Knocks due to their impactful work within the community. WFC, known for its vast reach and deep engagement with GBV victims, and the School of Hard Knocks, which addresses trauma through sports in schools, both align with his vision of creating meaningful change.

Pictured above: Passionate coaches from The School of Hard Knocks

The funds raised through ‘Love Wins’ on BackaBuddy will enable WFC to employ additional staff and a counselor to assist victims with various needs—ranging from emotional support to emergency needs like food, clothing, and transportation. Similarly, contributions to the School of Hard Knocks will sustain programs that feed children, pay coaches, and expand their transformative work.

Although the campaign is progressing slowly, having raised over R3000 so far, Matthews remains optimistic. ‘It’s just me and it’s going quite slow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ he remarks, underscoring his commitment to see this through despite the challenges. His hope for the future in combating GBV is focused on making ‘small changes every day,’ adhering to the belief that ‘ONE IS GREATER THAN ZERO.'”

Impact and How to Contribute

Matthews invites everyone to join the movement by spreading awareness and donating to the cause. These funds will directly support the services provided by Women For Change and the School of Hard Knocks, creating small yet significant impacts that can lead to larger societal changes over time.

The ‘Love Wins’ campaign not only highlights the urgent need to address GBV in South Africa but also demonstrates the power of individual commitment in initiating widespread social change. As Matthews continues his work, he serves as a reminder that every effort counts and that, ultimately, love can win against the forces of violence and inequality.

To learn more and support this crucial cause, visit the Love Wins campaign page on BackaBuddy: