The definition of men should not focus on masculine physiques, but on positive minds and being caring members of society. The notion of responsible men in society, extends beyond campaigns about gender-based violence and HIV/AIDs, it focuses on the broader issues that are facing society.
These words were uttered by Eastern Cape Premier Pumulo Masualle during the provincial Men’s Parliament that was hosted by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) in the old Woolboard Exchange, Military Road, on Tuesday, 13 November 2018 – all with the focus on mobilising the men of the Eastern Cape and the role they could and should play in combating HIV and AIDS.
Premier Musualle vowed to play a role in ensuring that the necessary government resources would be channeled to support this initiative. He also urged the media to play a crucial role in calling upon all men to change their mentalities and join initiatives of this nature in their communities. He said that the parliamentary sitting would lead to the establishment of district and local based platforms that would work on the ground to capacitate men to become more ethical and caring members of society. “This Parliament sitting has raised the bar for us men. Each and everyone of us must say: I am in! As a country we cannot no longer continue like this; South African women and children need to know that they can count on us,” said Masualle.
In his welcoming speech, NMBM Executive Mayor, Cllr Mongameli Bobani, stated “We are gathered here today for a very important cause; our high HIV/Aids infection rate. Men are one of the main causes of the spread of this virus and yet we sit an do nothing. Women are victims of abuse every day at the hands of those who claim love them. As the City, we cannot sit back. We will be adopting a platform of this nature at Metro level so that we can work within society to change our brothers’ attitudes and make them agents of change.
The Executive Mayor thanked the Eastern Cape government for chosing Nelson Mandela Bay as host city for the Men’s Parliament. “Let us be reminded of the thousands of South Africans who have lost their lives. Each of us as mend should say: Not in my name.” the Executive Mayor added.
The main aim of the Men’s Parliament was to develop responsible men that will find space to discuss the social and health issues facing the country, including gender based violence and abuse, men’s health issues, and employment or business opportunities.
N. Yola of SANAC said “We are here to ensure that men are mobilised at all levels, realising that violence in society is mostly perpetuated by men. We will formulate a national strategic plan that will seek all men to participate in fighting HIV/AIDs and gender based violence.”
One of the resolutions of this gathering was to ensure safe circumcision practices, encourage men to go and test for HIV/AIDS instead of depending on their intimate partners to do so, practise healthy living and safe sex, find ways to create jobs and avail business opportunities for men, teach other men that manhood is not about masculinity and patriarchal stereotypes, but positive minds that are driven by Ubuntu. Also, to ensure that facilities exist that will assist men in implementing these views.