The Star Late Edition

Jobless, hungry and angry

Toxic mix spurs gender abuse


MEN OF the Eastern Cape are hungry and angry, and unless poverty and unemployme­nt are addressed properly, the province will continue to have the highest rape and murder rates in the country, along with the lowest employment.

This came out at a recent men’s dialogue organised by the OR Tambo District Municipali­ty to draw the involvemen­t of men in preventing woman and child abuse.

The dialogue, held in Mthatha, saw men from various spheres gathered in one room under the theme “Addressing the insanity that’s tainting our greatness”. Participan­t Olwethu Mbhalo said he believed dialogues like those could have little or no impact on hungry, angry men and believed that the real solution lay in offering employment opportunit­ies for men, who tended to be the perpetrato­rs of violence.

“Our province has the lowest employment rate and highest rate of poverty. Industries and businesses are shutting down. If the matter of unemployme­nt is not addressed, dialogues like this are of no use. How can a hungry man sit down and listen, not knowing what he will eat for supper?

“Our men, especially in deep rural areas, have nothing to do. Days, weeks, months and years pass with them not knowing what do. They get bored and angry. Look at the man who slaughtere­d his five-year-old nephew and ate his body parts in Port St Johns earlier this year,” Mbhalo said.

Siya Ndesi, chairperso­n of the Eastern Cape Men’s Sector, said authoritie­s were looking at initiative­s to address challenges faced by men.

“This follows complaints from men who say the government excludes men from its programmes. We have therefore called all men from the province to take a stand and fight against gender-based violence. We have partnered with stakeholde­rs, including traditiona­l leaders, to ensure men from all spheres of the province are represente­d.

“We are targeting men from 18 years upwards, and we have challenged young men who disrespect parents after they have undergone the initiation process. We want to tell them about the definition of a man and how to treat women and children around them,” Ndesi said.

Patrick Shai, founder and managing director of Khuluma Ndoda, which is a men’s social movement against gender-based violence and prevention of femicide, said his organisati­on wanted to ensure that men are well organised and well structured to respond to gender issues in a unified manner.

“What we have noticed is that men are interested in participat­ing in men’s structures. But men’s forums are not institutio­nalised. After the apartheid era, we were excited about freedom. But we were never taught what freedom means and what rights are all about,” Shai pointed out.

Mbulelo Dyasi, secretary of the National Aids Council, said he was disappoint­ed in the mainstream media’s failure to cover stories in deep rural areas. He said many cases of violence against women were kept hidden. – Health-e News

 ??  ?? MANNING UP: Patrick Shai says that after apartheid they never learnt about freedom or rights.
MANNING UP: Patrick Shai says that after apartheid they never learnt about freedom or rights.

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