On the 30th of August 2018 the Board of Trustees of the New loveLife trust, led by its Board Chairperson Mr Moss Mashishi, launched its Boy Child primary prevention project as part of its Adolescent Boys and Young men programme focus area. Responding to the negative societal norms that continues to harm the development of Boy children and young men and result to violence against women amongst other societal challenges.
Primary stakeholders which included the Department of Social Development represented by the Deputy Minister Henrietta Bogopane Zulu, the National Department of Sports and Recreation by Deputy Director Mamoruti Monana, National Department of Health represented by the Director General Precious Matsoso, the Corporate sector, media houses and journalists to unpack the Boy Child project offering.
This initiative was the first of the many envisaged strategic roundtable engagements, where the Board wants to engage strategic partners to expand the dialogue on the challenges that face the Boy Child. Linda Nkomo the Chief Executive Officer of loveLife unpacked the strategic objective of this initiative. loveLife recognises that It is essential to engage young boys and young men in gender equality, because the norms around what it means to be a man often cause harm to women and girls.
More specifically, inequalities in power and privilege between men and women, and between boys and girls, emerge from widely accepted gender norms that place men, in general, in a dominant position compared to women in the public and private spheres. Within these power structures, evidence indicates that men and boys with more rigid views on masculinity or “what it means to be a man” are more likely to use violence against women and girls, as well as abuse drugs and alcohol, amongst other harmful outcomes.
Deputy Minister of Social Department who was the key note speaker, placed the bigger blame on how women raise boy children “What have we done to the Boy Child” she asked. Deputy Minister Bogopane further elaborated that the strong boy’s narrative is what has put the nation where it’s at, the narrative needs to change. She indicated that men are never there anyway so we can’t blame how a boy child pans out on men. The aim of the strategic roundtables is to expand and to deepen the dialogues. The event on the 30th of August was the first of the many that are to follow. It was a successful event.