When they accepted their mission to climb Tanzania's famed Mount Kilimanjaro, South African rock stars The Parlotones told Act that they weren't so much nervous about the physical feat as they are focused on bringing attention to the cause: Africa-UNiTE "Speak Out - Climb Up to End Violence Against Women and Girls." Yes, it's a mouthful. Here's the bottom line: The world must come together to put an end to gender-based violence.
Tomorrow is the United Nations International Women's Day; you can watch UN coverage here for observances and action plans. The Parlotones are already well on their way up the peak and have almost reached their goal; check out photos on the trek's Facebook page. We got some insider info on why the cause matters to them — and why we all ought to care. Now.
First of all, bravo on the commitment to climb Kilimanjaro for UNiTE! Are you all in good shape and ready for the challenge? How do you plan to train for the trek?
Well, we are very excited to be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. And we have, sort of, been getting in shape for the last couple of weeks and months. Just going on hikes, going to the gym, doing leg work, carrying our golf bags instead of taking golf carts. That sort of thing. So I think we’ll be fine, fitness-wise. Not sure about the altitude.
The event is designed to raise global awareness about violence against women. What do you hope to achieve by participating? What do you want your fans to do to help support the campaign?
The main thing we hope to achieve is awareness around the campaign, and we hope that our fans will support us on the climb paying attention and becoming aware of the issue. For anyone that wants to know how they can be involved, you can go check it out on AfricaUniteCampaign.org.
Are there any lyrics from the album that sum up your overarching message when it comes to social change?
There are no specific lyrics that kind of sum that topic up. There are lyrics that speak about social change and one song in particular is a song called “Should We Fight Back,” which is actually being used by this particular campaign as the bit of music to kind of encapsulate the initiative.
If we could do just one thing today to help eliminate violence against women, what should it be?
I don’t think there’s just one thing you can do to stop this problem. I think it’s gonna be a sum of the parts. There’s many steps toward solving a problem, and this is just one of them. I think the the biggest challenge is to actually create strength amongst the women that are being abused, cause I think often the problem is silence. Where they don’t actually speak out, and they don’t know that there is help out there. So let’s hope that this a step in the right direction, and one of many, many more to come.