×

We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

‘We’re not just here to support but to take part in the fight against GBV’: King Misuzulu kaZwelithini

Men's walk against gender based violence from King Dinizulu to Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.
Men's walk against gender based violence from King Dinizulu to Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

“Those among us who do nothing to wipe out the scourge are just as guilty as the perpetrators.”

That was the message from the Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini who was leading the inaugural National Men’s Day against GBVF march in Durban on Saturday.

The march was organised by the Goodmen Foundation — which encourages men to fight against GBV — and the Zulu Queen's Ka-Maskolo Foundation.

Simingaye Xaba, CEO of the Goodmen Foundation , said the march — which included government leaders, the MenForChange structure of the South African Police Service — was intended to have been held in July but had to be cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

He said it was about time men got involved in societal matters regarding abuse instead of letting women fight by themselves.

“It’s time men take action so that it doesn’t become just lip service. Women have been at the forefront — they marched to Union buildings in 1956 to address issues that concern them hence we have Women’s Month. We’re approaching the 16 Days of Activism which is again, another platform that was established by women 31 years ago,” he said.

King Misuzulu KaZwelithini takes part in the men's walk with minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu.
King Misuzulu KaZwelithini takes part in the men's walk with minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

“We believe there’s still hope that men can be persuaded to do better.”

Sibongi Ngcobo, business manager at uKhozi FM, said: “I’m happy when men finally say enough is enough and start a conversation among themselves to fight GBV because it shouldn’t be the victim that is always crying out for help, and we have been crying out, be it for equal rights or against abuse.”

“The expectation is for men to protect us, not for us to seek protection against men.”

She added that uKhozi FM would continue to use its platform to fight abuse.

Bishop Zondi of the Council of Churches said it would take all of society to fight gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) because it exists everywhere, including churches.

“We’re not just here to support but to take part in the fight because this GBV is also in our homes and churches.”

Former executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said gender-based violence was a global “pandemic” but South Africa’s cases exceeded the global average.

Men's walk against gender based violence from King Dinizulu to Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.
Men's walk against gender based violence from King Dinizulu to Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

She added the reported figure was not a true reflection of the crisis as many cases were never reported.

“The greatest amount of gender-based violence experienced by women happens in their home and it is perpetrated by people they know and love. As a result, most people don’t report it because they are afraid to out the people who victimise them and are also shocked that their loved ones could hurt them,” she said.

She said another reason victims don’t report GBV cases is because of fear of further victimisation.

“That is why most of them end up with mental health problems, it’s the pain they live with inside. Many are walking wounded,” she said.

She said one way to fight GBV would be to exercise gender equality at home and in schools so that children grow up with the right values from an early age. She also urged male figures to be positive role models for young men.

In his keynote address, the Zulu king said GBV was the biggest barrier to achieving dignity for women and children in South Africa.

King Misuzulu KaZwelithini and minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu leading the men's walk against gender-based violence.
King Misuzulu KaZwelithini and minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu leading the men's walk against gender-based violence.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu
Men's walk against gender-based violence.
Men's walk against gender-based violence.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Tackling the issue of GBV is one of the promises he made during his certificate handover ceremony in October.

He said it won’t be easy or quick but assured those in attendance that the only way to win the battle is by working together.

“I condemn and also request the assistance from systems and resources, as our churches, mosques, temples, schools and royal circles. All this does not mean you’re innocent, you’re all just as guilty because it happens right under our noses,” he said.

“We must draw the line between monsters and those who fight this scourge.”

He emphasised the importance of organisations like the Goodmen and Ka-Maskolo foundations that seek to groom young men to grow up to be responsible adults, like the reed dance does for young women.

“I urge all who live in South Africa today to fight this demonic spirit that engulfs our country,” he said.

TimesLIVE


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.