Men march to call for an end to abuse

Men and women showed up at the Mens United march in Khayelitsha to denounce the abuse of women and children.

Hundreds of men from across the city gathered to take part in the Men’s United March in Khayelitsha on Monday August 27, calling men to action against the scourge of violence and abuse perpetrated against women and children.

The march was an initiative by men from different non-governmental organisations, advocacy groups, faith based-organisations and the government.

The men were also joined by youths and women, with the march starting at the Andrew Lusaba Church with a prayer.

Leading the proceedings, popular actor Zuko Vanyaza lambasted men for the atrocities some of them were guilty of, adding that too often the violence experienced by women was at the hands of their intimate partners, who they should be able to trust.

“As men we have lost the reason why we are men, and why men were created. But this march is an answer to that. We are supposed to love, care and nurture,” he said.

Quoting German mathematician and physicist Albert Einstein, Mr Vanyaza said: “We urge men to know that when Albert Einstein said the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything, he was right. Let us stand up and say today as men sithi hayi, not in our name.”

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, who was part of the march, said there were problems facing communities which could be resolved by communities. “We have seen in the past months, rapes, killings and atrocities against women and children. We want to get the message across, talk to people of Cape Town, church and other organisations to fight the scourge. This is a case of advocacy. The rapes by older men is a problem and cannot be tolerated,” he said.

However, Mr Plato said he had confidence in the justice system and that as long as people did not turn a blind eye to crime or protect perpetrators, the justice system was capable of acting against criminals.

The march was also joined by MEC for Health Nomafrench Mbombo who said during Women’s Month her department was driving the #NathiSithi_Hhayi – no to violence campaign.

She said through this campaign the Health Department was calling men to action to get involved in bringing an end to the senseless violence and abuse of women and children.

“This march is in direct response to the brutal and senseless murders and abuse that are affecting our society.

“Violence against women is a violation of human rights and a disgrace to the whole of humanity. We have braved the weather to be here. We are gathered here not because we want to exercise. Our pain is here. You can reconcile pain,” she said.

She said she hoped the march would conscientise men.