The Guard

The Truth On Board

Gender dialogue seeks to bring change

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – The 2018 Miss United Nations International, Vinolia Mabele, has lauded the high turn-out of men at last Friday’s two-day campaign against gender based violence in Phuthditjhaba, describing it as ‘encouraging’.

“I am so impressed to see so many men in attendance and making inputs on how gender based violence can be eradicated,” said Mabele – a social cohesion advocate who seeks to initiate campaigns against gender based violence.

A part of breaking the silence against gender based violence and femicide (GBVF) Mabele launched the “He for her: dialogue for change” campaign in the Free State in the community of Maluti-a-Phofung.

Her campaign creates safe spaces for both men and women where they can talk freely about their experiences while trying to find realistic solutions for their communal problems.

“Pageant queens are usually advocates for certain issues, the idea behind this initiative is to encourage people to #breakthesilence,” Mabele said.

The event was graced by the presence of MMC’s Khanyi Molefe, Tshedi Tseou and Ellen Mofokeng who represent women in the newly appointed mayoral council.

“Women are not the only people suffering from abuse, men are taught from a very young age to bottle up pain, so this initiative is very powerful when it comes to the idea of breaking the silence,” Tsoeu said.

Social cohesion advocate Professor Christopher Isike of the African politics and international relations department at the University of Pretoria was zoomed into the event and he shared his knowledge about concepts such as ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘quid pro quo’ (a type of sexual harassment on the workplace).

“Quid pro quo simply means something for something, I scratch your back you scratch mine. In some instances, employers take advantage of their position of power and demand sexual favours from employees. This is one type of sexual harassment that happens in the workplace,” Isike said.

Royal praise-singer Zolani Mkiva was also able to grace the event with his presence via the virtual platform despite his busy schedule as a member of parliament and secretary general of CONTRALESA.

On Friday there was a march from Freedom Square in Phuthaditjaba to the multipurpose center where the event was held.  On Thursday delegates at the event watched a short film produced by Mabele that reenacted three different types of GBVF acts.

March against gender based violence in Qwaqwa.

Friday saw a robust discussion around the three issues that were shown in the short film shown on Thursday; financial dependency, quid pro quo and toxic cultural norms as types of abuse in our society.

Pule Lekhoaba founder of Ahanang Men’s Forum said; “Men must change their mindsets when it comes to how they view woman. It is my opinion that a man who only sees a bed when he looks at a woman must have serious mental challenges.”

Jui Jitsu world champion Sensei Herman Kordom came all the way from Mafikeng to share with the audience a few self-defense moves that could save a person’s life.

This wonderful event was a joint effort from the department of sports, arts and culture, Million Man Movement, African Ambassador, Face of Mzanzi, Lebema Media and the municipality of Maluti-a-Phofung.