Men need to know how to love and respect themselves before they can love and respect others, and staying away from drugs and alcohol can help them do that.
This was one of the messages that about 20 young men from Site C – all recent graduates of initiation schools – heard during a workshop held at Intlanganiso High School on Saturday.
It was organised by #NoExcuse, an anti-abuse campaign, in partnership with the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa), Sanco, Ward 18 councillor Ntomboxolo Kopman and Qula Kwedini Youth Initiatives.
#NoExcuse senior mentor Victor Pike, said they wanted to teach young men good moral and social values to help them deal with the responsibilities of manhood, and they planned to hold further programmes in various townships.
The theme of the three-hour workshop was Sakha Indoda, which loosely translated means “We are building a man.” And Mr Pike said building a man was a process; not a one-day event.
“Now that you are a man, you cannot behave like a boy. Associate yourself with good friends and people. Take full responsibility for your choices and decisions.
“As men, we must speak out against many social ills affecting our communities, especially when it comes to the issue of gender-based violence, so that we can set a good example for the younger generation of men.
“Let us build these young men so that when we are no longer here, they can be good leaders. Let us build good men for the future. I call all other men to rise and be a voice of reason for a change.”
Chief Jonguhlanga Mzoli Zwelidala said crime and the abuse of alcohol and drugs were just some of the problems that faced today’s men so it was pleasing to be part of an initiative that helped to restore the dignity and integrity of young men.
A good, decent man could not love and respect others if he did not first have self-respect and love for himself, and a man would not find those things in drugs or alcohol, he said.
It was a fallacy, and one that needed to be discredited, he said, that you needed to drink alcohol to be a real man.
Some men came from the initiation school thinking they could ignore the reprimands of their parents or even abuse them, but those men were wrong, and they should change their behaviour immediately, he said.
Instead, they should speak out when they faced challenges and not bottle up their feelings, he said, adding that it was natural for men to cry.