Thursdays in black

by Rev Joe Taylor


For the last seven years, I have worn black clothes nearly every Thursday that I can remember. 


No, black is not my favourite colour and while I am a part of “The Dull Men’s Club” on Facebook (seriously, you should check it out… it’s awesome!), I would not necessarily consider myself a bland person. 


Rather, I choose to wear black in support of the Thursdays in Black campaign. I was introduced to this campaign several years ago, and it has impacted me greatly. The Thursdays in Black campaign is a peaceful protest against the rape and murder of women and children throughout the world. 


The movement was founded in America in the 1970s, mirroring Argentinian women who gathered and wore black armbands to honour their daughters and sisters, who were disappearing in droves.

The campaign has since spread throughout the world and recently renewed its vigour with the aim of “resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence, showing respect for women who are resilient in the face of injustice and violence, and encouraging others to join” according to the World Council of Churches. In my home country of South Africa, with the alarmingly high rates of gender-based violence and femicide, there is a desperate need for protests such as this one.


Therefore every Thursday, I (along with thousands of other people throughout the world) choose to wear black in silent protest against the culture of rape and violence (primarily against women) which is prevalent in our world today.

My concern with movements such as this is that they can quickly become a habit, and the significance of such a protest is lost when it merely becomes a meaningless routine. The first thing I subconsciously do on a Thursday morning is reach for my black shirt, but I sometimes forget why I am doing so. We can get comfortable in the routine of doing something that should be making us uncomfortable.

One of my colleagues recently made the comment that he refuses to wear black on Thursdays because he sees how many of those who do wear black still disrespect their female associates in their words and actions on a daily basis.

This got me thinking. Are we truly able to say that we support a cause if supporting it does not change us in any way?

I believe that the Thursdays in Black campaign is good. It is a way to raise awareness and show a united front against the dominant culture of rape and violence against women and children in our society. However, we need to be careful when we begin to do things just for the sake of doing them. The meaning and purpose behind powerful campaigns such as this one can get lost when they merely become another routine in our lives.

Every time I put on my black clothes on a Thursday morning, I need to actively and intentionally remind myself of what I am claiming to stand against and ask myself whether I am doing everything I can to support this cause, not only with what I wear but also in my thoughts, words, and actions every single day of my life.


To read more about Thursdays in Black in South Africa and to partner with this important campaign, please visit the following site: 

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