Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu says society must take a conscious decision to protect young girls and boys from abuse.
She was delivering an inaugural lecture on femicide in memory of the late Karabo Mokoena in Soweto on Saturday.
Mokoena’s charred remains were found in an open field in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, in April last year.
Her boyfriend, Sandile Mantsoe, was sentenced to 32 years in jail earlier this month after being convicted of her murder.
Shabangu says violence against young men and women must be condemned.
She says: “We must all be missionaries because gender-based violence in our society is huge. Our kids must be free. Where we live today, we cannot exercise barbarism. Our kids can no longer be safe. It’s us who must change that. When we are here today we must take a stand against abuse.”