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ECDOE and Mnquma Men for Change host men wellness conference in Butterworth

By Yolanda Palezweni - Oct 19, 2017
ECDOE and Mnquma Men for Change host men wellness conference in Butterworth

The Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDOE), in partnership with a Non-Profit Organisation, Mnquma Men for Change, on Wednesday hosted a men’s wellness conference in Butterworth.

The initiative is part of the department’s Employee Health and Wellness Unit and is tailor made to assist men to lead positive and fruitful life, also to deal with stress related illness, marital challenges, substance abuse, gender based violence, social and work related cases that affects negatively at their work, resulting to reduce productivity and high rate of absenteeism

According to Mnquma Men For Change area Coordinator, Mfundo Ngcape, the organisation was formed in 2013 by a group of concerned men after noticing that there is a gap caused by absent fathers which affects family life in South Africa and seeks to mentor young men and boys ensuring necessary guidance which enable them to be more responsible persons and role models in the future.

“We have outreach and awareness programmes focus on men and boys in form of community and school dialogues, stakeholder’s engagements and social mobilization through campaigns, initiation dialogues for boys at school, initiation sites and new men’s dialogues,” said Ngcape.

He added that the organisation also provides care, support and empowers victims of crime in particular men through preventative and developmental programmes.

Addressing those gathered at the conference, ECDOE Amathole East District official, Mbulelo Safa, said that the department has workers, who are also human beings that are affected by daily challenges of life.

He said that men go through a lot and experience pain but never really talks about their problems and suffer in silence.

“Men are strong yet so weak, they don’t express their pain they bottle it up and eventually destroy them as a result they use alcohol as the escape of their problems,” said Safa.

He added that, when a man goes through lot of problems and fails at home, eventually that has a negative impact at their workplace and in their communities.

“When a man fails his duties as a man in their households that result them to underperform at work and end up failing to even go to work,” added Safa.

He further said that conferences, such as the one held on Wednesday, help men to gather and discuss critical issues man faces and also advised each other on how to do better and be a good example at home and also communities.

Speaking at the conference, certified medical examiner, Doctor Pelisa Mafuya, echoed him and said that men must open up with their issues and get help to avoid the negative consequences

She said that, most men suffer from lot of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to mention few and refuse to treat them as that result to damage their manhood.

“Most diseases man suffer from affect their manhood which result to erectile dysfunction for a man and make him not be able to satisfy his partner which makes him fails also in the community and workplace because of stress,” said Doctor Mafuya.

She added men should treat their conditions and exercise healthy lifestyle to avoid such and also encouraged men to talk about their problems.

However, Keynote speaker, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, blamed lack of leadership in men for all the problems the country as a whole is facing.

He said that the problem begins at the initiation schools for young men where they supposed to learn respect, moral values and discipline but instead learns the total opposite.

Chief Matanzima blamed parents for ignorance as they decide to send any one to be a traditional guardian (Ikhankatha) for the initiate’s s and fail to instil discipline and morals to the initiates.

“Amakhankatha plays a crucial role in transforming a boy into a man at the initiation school as a result if proper discipline and moral value teachings are not well instilled during the initiation school, the boy will come back with no morals and discipline,” said Chief Mathanzima.

He added that the shift in the good teaching of moral values in the practice of initiation has led to much death of initiates and also young men misbehaving end up in jail or abusing women and children.

He added that should reflect in order to play a positive role in the societies and also revisit the importance of initiation school and provide ways to empower the initiates to come back better men.

“A father must be the one who is traditional guardian of his son and teach him all about moral values as it happened in the past, we in this situation because our young men are being taught to misbehave,” said Chief Matanzima.

He concluded that all men must work together to build a nation.

Speaking to RNEWS, recovering alcoholic also a member of Men For Change from Department of Education Amathole East District, Litha Ntlabathi, said that Men For Change programme helped him a lot as he was an alcoholic and almost lost everything.

Ntlabathi said that he was a serious alcoholic and almost last everything including his partner but through Men For Change programme he has been improving.

“I was a heavy drinker as a result my social life and work was negatively affected, I was losing almost everything until I decide to take a stand of my life,” said Ntlabathi.

He said that with the help of his mother, he was able to change his life and be a better community member.

Ntlabathi has been sober for since 2009 and said that he needed to do something better for his community and decided to join the Men For Change.

“Such organisations are very important in communities because they help people on how to behave and also shape men to be better leaders and role models in their families and communities,” said Nltlabathi.

Also speaking to RNEWS, Maqoba School teacher, Luthando Mhaga, said that Men For Change programmes are very crucial especially to them educators because they also suffer from a lot of issues in their daily lives.

“I used to take such programmes for granted but with this conference I’ve gained a lot, now I will go back to my community and school and implement all that I learn and try to do better,” concluded Mhaga.

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