“Dismantling patriarchal myths.”
“Repositioning men as society co-builders rather than predators.”
“Creating an inclusive, non-sexist society and reclaiming positive perceptions about men.”
These striking bold phrases kept coming up at the launch of the A! Men Movement, which took place at the Constitutional Hill on Saturday, 4 June 2016.
A! Men is a youth advocacy group led by ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Team Leader, Malusi Mazibuko with dozens of young people from all over the country. At its core, the movement aims to challenge and re-focus negative perceptions about men. This independent youth structure seeks to reclaim a positive reputation of men in society, redefine gender roles, connect gender activists and experts, provoke dialogues about patriarchal myths, positively influence social beliefs; specifically youth and to provide support links for every South African.
Watch Malusi Mazibuko TV interview.
Besides reconstructing an inclusive non-sexist society, the A! Men Movement also intends to provoke robust discussions on masculinity, facilitate life skills mentorship programmes and ongoing fatherhood support structure.Some of the speakers include author, film maker and change driver, Vukulu Sizwe Maphindani, entrepreneur and social change driver, Mpho Maphologela, entrepreneur and sexual health educator, Rees Mann, motivational speaker and entrepreneur, Tsholofelo Mojakgotle, media practitioner, Kennedy Nhlangoti, gender activist and bookseller Nhlanhla Mbawula Nkosi , Human Rights expert and social change driver Junior Sikhwivhilu – all members of the ACTIVATE! Network.Organisations who supported this initiative on the day included, South African Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse, physically challenged entrepreneur support programme, The Small Giant, Human Rights Institute of South Africa, State of the Union, graphic and website design company, Mdokha Designs just to mention a few.
The event was attended by young people from almost all provinces. Event organiser, Malusi Mazibuko, said the overwhelming attendance and ongoing public feedback from young people who want to join the movement is success indication sign that clearly shows that the country has been yearning for such relevant movement. “The fact that young people came as far as North West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Gauteng tells me and the members of this movement that indeed there is a need for a movement like ours. This also shows that there are still people who want to see this country cleansing itself and going forward”, said Mazibuko.
The movement received a lot congratulatory messages of support from gender activists, civil society advocacy groups and government departments. Gender justice activist Siviwe Minyi is one of many South Africans who applauded the founders and the members of A! Men Movement. “This is indeed a great youth-led initiative that can drive change in South Africa. I hope members of this movement will not be scared to address patriarchal social ills. For me, that would be a great starting point for and they can only achieve that by implementing innovative strategies that will make men understand that relinquishing power and establishing an egalitarian doesn’t mean loss of gender roles. Men and women can living alongside each other. Therefore men need to speak to other men about equality. A language that men understand is what shall take us further forward”, he says.
The A! MEN Movement has extended its invitation to all sectors of society to participate in its nation building activities. Mazibuko reiterated that A! Men movement is not a male-only organisation. “The movement calls for a new generation of young leaders to step up and take the lead and set the good precedent.” said Mazibuko.
Some of the movement way forward plans include prestige fund-raising gala dinner on Women’s Day (9th of August 2016), provincial branches launch, negotiating collaborations with various civil society organizations and government officials who share the same or similar vision of building a society where male are no perceived to be predators but trusted responsible co-builders.
Those who want more information about the A! Men Movement can visit the movement website www.amensa.co.za. Alternatively, they can call the A! Men Movement hotline 063 067 5679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org / ACTIVATEemail@example.com.
The A! Men Movement social media platforms are @ACTIVATE!MenZA or facebook page A! MenZA