Men pledge to be champions of change
The Men’s Sector of the SANAC Civil Society Forum held a 3-day Men’s Summit from 24 to 26 August 2018 in Ballito, north of Durban. The Summit brought together men and boys from across the country to seek lasting solutions to various social challenges such as gender-based violence, femicide, toxic masculinity, sexuality and the spread of HIV.
The summit was organised under the banner of ‘Takuwani Riime’ (a TshiVenda expression meaning ‘let’s stand up together’), an initiative that aims to consolidate all organisations, men’s movements and individuals working with men in South Africa. Takuwani Riime was launched by the former chairperson of SANAC, President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2015.
To ensure that all community initiatives and movements aimed at men and boys are sustainable, the summit also had an objective to solidify the institutionalisation of provincial and national men’s parliaments. The institutionalisation will then monitor the reach and impact of activities aimed at men boys to establish whether they are achieving the ultimate objective of creating a better society.
The summit was also organised in response to the ongoing scourge of violent crimes perpetrated by men against women, children and vulnerable people such as the elderly.
“We want to create better men who are agents of change in communities, not perpetrators of violent crimes against women and children. The dialogues we had with men and boys at the summit were extremely helpful in figuring out some of the issues affecting men and what drives some of them to commit crimes,” said Archbishop Mbulelo Dyasi, SANAC Men’s Sector.
Some of the interventions coming out strongly from the summit were how to improve the socialisation of the boy child; assistance for fatherless boys and intergenerational dialogues. The ultimate outcome of the summit however, was to inspire positive values among men and boys. The subsequent provincial and men’s parliaments are earmarked to assist in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of adopted men’s programmes at community level across the country.
During the summit, there was also a Men’s Expo which brought together various exhibitors to expose men to a range of available products, services and programmes that could help improve their personal and professional lives. The Men’s Expo is a programme that has been running in Durban for the past 3 years; this year they joined the Takuwani Riime Movement led by the SANAC Men’s Sector to deliver the 3-day summit. Well-known Radio Dj, Vukile Nongcebo McKenzie of Ukhozi FM is the brains behind the Men’s Expo initiative.
“It has been often argued that when men aren’t employed or exposed to economic opportunities, they tend to be violent, that was the main motivation behind the Men’s Expo – to expose them to products, services and opportunities available out there and how to access them,” said McKenzie.
Men Championing Change – A Programme by Department of Social Development & SANAC
On the first day of the summit, SANAC Chairperson, Deputy President David Mabuza joined the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu in launching the Men Championing Change programme which is a social and behaviour change initiative targeting men and boys with the goal to address the social and structural drivers of HIV, TB and STIs.
“I am truly humbled and grateful, as a man, to gather and have the opportunity to speak frankly amongst ourselves, to sit, discuss and to question our role as men in society,” Deputy President Mabuza during his keynote address to officiate the summit.
The programme is the brainchild of Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu who remained in attendance for all three days of the summit. The Deputy Minister said her Department is committed to rally behind the Takuwani Riime movement in order to create a healthier society where all South Africans live in harmony.
As part of the Men Championing Change launch, a pledge by men was also signed at the summit. The said pledge laid out strong assertions by men that they will use their strength to love, protect and provide for their loved ones; that they will be agents of change and stand against any form of abuse.