Somagwaza Institute workshops shape the mindset of amakrwala

Young men who attended the workshop.

In an effort to instil in amakrwala (young men) the importance of living a principled life and being exemplary in society, the Somagwaza Institute held an informative workshop in Gugulethu last week.

The workshop aimed to teach young men ways of conducting themselves and what is expected from a young man who comes from the initiation school.

With the initiation season upon us, the institute felt it was important that they talk to young men and society at large.

Amakrwala listen attentively as senior men empower them with knowledge.

Somagwaza Institute founder, Sikelela Zokufa, said it is sad and disheartening to see the way young men, including older men, behave.

He said women feel unsafe around men because of the horrible things men do to women and children.

He said the role of men is to protect and look after his family and the community.

However, he said men are murderers, criminals and abusers and that is not what men are taught in the initiation school.

It was important to host these honest and robust workshops, he said, so they could raise critical questions with the hope of knocking some sense into young men to make them understand the magnitude of the role they have in building a great society.

“We have men in our society who have undergone the initiation process yet the way they carry themselves is utterly disappointing and not acceptable.

“Our culture does not teach us to disrespect women and children or to beat them up. Growing up we were taught that it was a disgrace to see a man drunk in public. When you undergo the initiation process you are taught that you are not a man only to your home but to the entire society who is looking up to you. We want to change the mindset of amakrwala with the hope that they could change their behaviour.

“ As a man you live by example,” he said.

One of the speakers was clinical psychologist Mthetho Tshemese who said he particularly works with boys and young men because he noted that there were lots of issues they were battling with.

He said he discovered that one of the key factors that propels young boys and men to turn to crime and be abusers was the fact that their fathers were absent in their lives for a number of reasons.

That, he said, plays a major role in young men and boys making uninformed life choices.

He also noted that being a man is not just about going to the initiation school but it is also about living a dignified life and being a role model in the society.

He said when you undergo the initiation process you are therefore making a pact with yourself, your family and the community that you will play a key role in making society a better place to live.

He said it was sad that South Africa is one of the countries that has the highest statistics of rape and that sin is committed by man.

He urged young men to isolate and treat men who rape and kill women and children as outcasts.

He said issues of unemployment frustrates young men and puts their mental health under pressure as men are expected to provide.

Ilitha Labantu organisation representative, Ludwe Nkomo urged young men to respect women and children and ensure that they do not feel unsafe among men.