KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has called on men to be the bedrock of society by supporting the agenda of generation equality, while also supporting women empowerment.
“It is our earnest desire that we have men who are hungry for peaceful ways, respectable men who use amicable methods to solve pressing issues that face our families and societies,” Zikalala said.
The Premier called on men to fight patriarchy, end gender-based violence (GBV), as well as eliminate child abuse.
Zikalala said the province and the country need men who will be role models to boys, who will grow to respect, embrace and appreciate women and girls for who they are and not for what they can get from them.
“The underlying message is that we must work together in ensuring that the relationship between men and women reflects unity, collaboration, partnership and harmony.”
He emphasised that men should discuss frankly with each other the challenges they face, explore their fears and anxieties, and pay attention to their dreams and aspirations.
“Men need other men and women too to be a shoulder to cry on. They are only human, and also benefit from support and care from others. We need to do away with such myths that ‘men don’t cry.' We do not want to create a society of men who feel their voices do not matter, who think no one takes their concerns seriously.
“It is very important that men talk about issues that affect their mental, psychological and physical well-being so that they are solved before they worsen. Real men unite to do positive things that build and fortify them.”
Importantly, Zikalala said it was never the culture in traditional Zulu society or many African societies to repress women and relegate their role to second-class citizens.
“Our history teaches us that women were revered and even worshipped. Before the planting season, our ancestors did rituals to the goddess of fertility and agriculture.
“It is really shameful and a disgrace that today, our mothers, sisters and daughters suffer at the hands of men and boys. Something has really gone wrong. This is not a society we can be proud of,” he said.
He urged amabutho to be exemplary to young boys by teaching them the true values, characters and responsibilities of being trustworthy men.
“Amabutho are a bedrock and strength of the Zulu nation, as the whole nation rely on their defence in times of war. As we confront this devastating war in the form of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), we rely on amabutho’s guidance, war tactics, discipline and determination to win the war against GBVF,” Zikalala said.
On Sunday, the Premier joined the community in Mbumbulu, south of Durban, to commemorate International Men’s Day under the theme, 'Better Relations Between Men and Women'.
Joined by Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza and Member of the Provincial Legislature, Bishop Vusi Dube; traditional leadership and religious leaders, amongst others, the Premier urged men to be the warriors that will be remembered to have restored the humanity and dignity of women.
“Please rise and be counted in the fight against this scourge which is a blight on our hard-won freedom and democracy. It is our role as men to improve gender relations and promote gender equality in the workplace, in businesses, government [and] communities,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency