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Eastern Cape Men's Council conference held in Port Elizabeth

By Afikile Lugunya - Nov 14, 2018
Eastern Cape Men's Council conference held in Port Elizabeth

An Eastern Cape Men's Council conference on Tuesday saw men from all Eastern Cape districts gathering at the Woolboard Exchange Building in Port Elizabeth to discuss topics that included effective ways of dealing with gender-based violence, men's health and ways to help empower women.

The meeting was chaired by the Eastern Cape Legislature Deputy Speaker, Mlibo Qhoboshiyane, who was accompanied by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani.

The delegates agreed that there was a need for fathers to be present in their children's lives as the country faces a problem of absent fathers. They noted how children, especially sons, who grow up without the guidance of their fathers, end up caught up in social ills.

They also encouraged each other to commit to finding out the exact cause of gender-based violence so that it can be effectively addressed.

The former best friend of the late black consciousness leader, Steve Biko, Moki Cekisani, who is also a founder of the Ubuntu Environment Foundation, who was at the event, said that the discussions were dividing them as men instead of uniting them.

"This gathering is dividing us, you can't be a man without land, we are gathered here without land," he said.

While speaking to the media, Premier Masualle said that the discussions were a "consultative process" where men in general speak out about their challenges while the government notes them down.

The reason for the consultations are because the government reaches every aspect to do with the mobilization of men.

He added that the session was more strategic and important to him because it looks at issues like self-esteem that men should have and also the fact that they must understand the role that they must play in society.

Qhoboshiyane said that the process was about repositioning the attitude of a man, as a leader in society, to be a leader that is needed in society and at home so that the country could reap the benefits of having a "male person in society for a reason."

Through the men's parliament, Qhoboshiyane emphasized the importance of re-defining a man.

"We need to also reach out to train young men and this is supposed to be a program to reach sub-areas, districts and villages."

Meanwhile, Mayor Bobani said that the city would create awareness around the programme throughout the year.

"We are encouraging our men to test for HIV, to speak out and we are encouraging them not to be trash and to respect all women," he added.

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