Given the high levels of femicide incidents, gender-based violence (GBV), women and child abuse, and many other social ills where men are mostly the perpetrators in Nyanga and surrounds, the Nyanga Spiritual Crime Prevention decided to hold men’s imbizo.
The theme of the day for the Imbizo was: “Madoda sithuleleni kusonakala (Men, your silence is deafening)”.
The imbizo was unfortunately poorly attended, but among those there were police officers, representatives of Nyanga Men Empowerment, traditional leaders and healers and various non governmental organisations (NGOs).
Imbizo organisers called the meeting because, despite numerous interventions, GBV continued to be a thorn in the flesh of progress.
Organiser Bishop Dumisani Qwebe said because men were largely the perpetrators of crimes against women and children, the issues had to be tackled by none other than men themselves. “The aim was clear. We wanted to hear from men their challenges and reasons for these challenges. We needed them to come up with their solutions. After this we would call women only and also hear their side before merging the two camps. We are of the belief that we would come up with a solution,” said Bishop Qwebe
He said he personally believes that a better society can be built if men stand together to fight the scourge in their circles.
“Imagine hundreds of men under one roof talking openly about their challenges. That alone would be a victory. They would be able to discuss their contribution to ending GBV and femicide. But we are aiming to meet again next month. We are currently mobilising and encouraging men to come in numbers,” he said.
Reverend Mawande Lugonagolo of the Lugongolo Foundation said they also want to lobby for men to have their corners at the health facilities.
“We know that men are also victims of abuse but are reluctant to come forward for one reason and another. We want to interact with the health departments to ask about having corners of men where they can feel free to speak about their issues. This is another thing that would encourage men to come forward,” he added.
Nyanga station commander Colonel Siphiwo Sithonga was adamant that Nyanga would defeat GBV and that he was happy to have a good working relationship with the community.
“It helps us. We also have a GBV desk and social crime prevention. They are visible to people and are getting the trust we need. We also have a programme on a weekly basis that deals with GBV. With all the efforts we have successes. It is not just police work but our community,” he said.
Another meeting will be held on November 12 at a time and venue still to be announced.