The exchange was held in Durban on the 6th of April 2013. The award-winning human rights activist Jimmie Briggs spoke to the Activators about his Man Up Campaign. Activator Nkosinathi attended the exchange and he wrote this review about it.
The rising number of gender based violence was the talk of the day. The young men were brought together to look at where does it all begin and where can young men address the issues of gender based violence. A statement that came through during the event was that, a young man is likely to see abuse happen to a female close to them in their life time. The Activators at the breakfast meeting agreed with this statement and also mentioned that as young men we have to rise and address the issues of abuse and violence against the opposite sex.
This led to a discussion around emotions and men being able to express them. The Activators started to question the statement “men are not supposed to cry”. We felt that this is led men to have anger within them and in return they become violent toward the opposite sex. The final word on this was that as men we need to learn to express our emotions.
Jimmie Briggs facilitated a discussion that got young men talking about what standards we have set as men in the communities and what measures have we used to define a man. This shed light on the issue of mentorship; men helping each other better themselves and their community. The idea behind mentorship is to help create a masculine identity that is not solely based on wealth status.
Briggs highlighted that networking will assist young men to address the issues of gender based violence and also that until we address it at the individual level, i.e. how it affects our family first and then deal with the community; by doing so we can then be able to drive change within the country and to the world at larger. One lesson that was learnt was that we have to do something as young men to change the increase of gender based violence act, we need men to stand up and MAN UP and say it shall not happen with me and when around, I shall blow a whistle on gender based violence.
Young men need to remember that “A Man who sees far does greater”