Takuwani Riime! Institutionalising A Responsive Men’s Movement






Hon Sylvia Lucas Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP 
Honourable Members
Ministers Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
iNkosi Langa Mavuso Deputy Chairperson of the NHTKL
Leaders of the Civil Society 
Ladies and Gentlemen
Members of the Media

Sanibonani, Molweni, Good day, Dumelang to all Men of South Africa in every corner of our country, and we extend our gratitude 

Today, Parliament, Members of the Executive and Civil Society Structure we have been convened by the National Council of Provinces, under the theme “Takuwani Riime! a Venda expression meaning “Let Us Stand Up Together!” 

The programme of Men Championing Change that aims to bring about a cohort of men who are protective of women and children and to create an enabling environment in which men can dialogue and inspire positive values related to advancing the course Men positive attribute in matters of Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) in our homes, workplaces, schools, communities, and streets in our country.

The 19 of November, is recognised as International Men’s Day, a day designated to help create awareness about men’s physical and mental health and celebrate their contribution to families and communities. I have been asked to frame my message under the sub theme “Interventions to address the scourge of GBVF, as perpetuated by Culture and Tradition”. 

In the words of the late Bishop Desmond Tutu, Quote “It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.” UN-Quote.

In November 2018 the first Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, landmark summit was convened for two days, and this is what the President said. Quote “South Africa holds the shameful distinction of being one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman. We have amongst the highest rates of intimate partner violence, and recently released data from Statistics SA show that rape and sexual violence have become hyperendemic. This is a scourge that affects us all: young and old, black or white, rich and poor, queer or cis, rural or urban. It pervades every sphere of our society. Un-Quote.

The Presidential Summit was instrumental in identifying key interventions to address, not just gender-based violence and femicide, but the wider challenges women and children face with regards to safety and security, poverty, access to economic opportunities, and the contestation of their rights in a climate where patriarchy and chauvinism is widely prevalent and all-pervasive. The recording of high levels of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa is a betrayal of our constitution and gains of our democratic dispensation of which so many women fought and gave their lives. 

Whilst I support and advocate for any action that are purposed at creating awareness, I remain unapologetic on my assertion to the fact that we cannot reduce our involvement as those public marches after marches. How many more marches we need to do whilst women and children are being harmed daily. The resolution taken at the Presidential Summit, and other Gender Summits, Men’s Conference, Workshop etc. they have all been sadly reduced to just talk shows. How many Hashtag# Not In My Name activities have taken place whilst the scourge of women and children’s abuse continues even at the highest level.


The International Men’s Day on the 19 November, commemoration coincided with the 41st anniversary, in 1981, that a well-known civil rights lawyer who fearlessly defended the victims of the apartheid regime despite being harassed, detained, and banned on frequent occasions Mr. Griffiths Mxenge was brutally murdered 41 years ago. He was later joined in his Legal practice by uMama Practice Victoria Mxenge, together they began to play a more prominent role as a human rights lawyers and a political activists. Like her husband before her, Mrs Mxenge was brutally murdered in front of her children on the driveway of her home. 

In the spirit of selfless family which defended the Human Rights of people, I stand here today to call upon men that lets declare our continuous commitment to be the voice, activists to fight the scourge of violence against women and children’s. We should be a society of men who defends the human rights and dignity of women and children. Speaking on the issues of human rights tradition within the movement the then State President Nelson Mandela had this to say, Quote “Since 1923, when the first-ever bill of rights in South Africa was adopted by the ANC, human rights and the attainment of justice have explicitly been at the centre of our concerns.” Un-Quote.

In January this year, the president signed into law three key pieces of legislation, namely the:
·      Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 
·      The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act, 
·      The Domestic Violence Amendment Act.

These new laws afford greater protection to survivors of gender-based violence and ensure that perpetrators are no longer able to use legislative loopholes to evade prosecution. 
The Government continues to be committed to improve the quality of life of women and young girls as well as the all the people. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, under the theme “Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment to build Women’s Resilience against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide: Connect, Collaborate, Contract!”. This annual campaign should endeavour to bring the values and its principles to homes, schools, and society in general. 
Several Deputy Ministers we undertook an initiative early this year of an Imbizo to address Gender Based Violence in Lusikisiki, known, sadly as a ‘Rape Capital’ a town with the highest acts of violence against women and children has become a national crisis, it is a crime against our common humanity and should be punished heavily. Myself like many men across this country, I am horrified at the war being waged on our mothers, our wives, our partners, our sisters, and our daughters. Women have every right to expect that they should be treated with dignity and not to be subjected to harassment and sexual violence.

Our country has been deeply traumatized by acts of extreme violence perpetrated by men against women and children in this District of Lusikisiki. As a man I shiver when I hear of the cruelty that women and particularly girl children are subjected to. 
We call upon AmaKhosi, o-Tata, Men who are committing to stand-up and be counted in the fight against GBVF, as Africans we have a rich culture that protects women and children. I was shocked to learn that in these areas of Lusikisiki that some traditional leaders use the plight of GBVF as a cash cow, there is a practice that when a man who has violated a woman must pay a goat as a means of an apology to the victims or young girls family and the traditional leader, himself. 
These acts of sexual violence have made us doubt the very foundation of our democratic society, our commitment to human rights and human dignity, to equality, to peace and to justice. It is very disturbing that every day, we wake up to the sad reality of gruesome acts of sexual assaults, sexual violation and murder of girls and woman by the people who are said to be their fathers, grand-fathers, uncles, and brothers. 

This is the sad reality that as government especially in the sector of traditional institution we expose these brutalities. I am reminded of my telephone conversation with the Minister of COGTA Dr Dlamini Zuma, she asked me to intervene on a matter of a traditional leader who was assaulting members of the community in the main women, Quote “DM, I am please asking you that you go with members of the community and assist them to open a case of assault against the traditional leader, DM we cannot allow for a situation that traditional leaders are law to themselves” Un-Quote.
The traditional leader was arrested, and it made media headlines, I did not go myself but my office and a team from the department played an important role. Thank you, Minister, for your caring and compassionate leadership, hence early I pledged my commitment to be counted amongst those who are standing for the protection of women and children’s.
As a people we have worked together to defeat the system of apartheid and I am encouraged, that this is the time we come together to confront head-on this barbaric behavior, without fear or favour. I suppose that as a community Men in general need to be cleansed and healed from whatever demons that they have inherited from the past, which are evil and anti-uBuntu values. These acts of GBVF have caused great pain and outrage because such acts of such brutality have become all too common in our society. 

As leaders we are quick to condemn such acts of violence, we visit the families, attend the funeral and we go back to our normal lives, whilst the families are left with trauma that is devastating them for a lifetime. We call upon all traditional leaders and men to play a significant role in the rural communities to ensure that women are safely protected and should be commited to work towards advancing woman’s dignity.
The department through the National House of Traditional & Khoi-San Leaders, is part of the Men’s Parliament, a Movement championing Change in response to challenges adversely affecting our communities and addressing injustices perpetrated by men against women & children.  
The Men’s Parliament should resolve to strengthen the capacity and coordination of the men’s civil society movement by creating entry points for cohesive grassroots activism and engagement in local communities through the Men’s Parliaments dialogue with men’s in our communities. 
Nkosi Mavuso, the traditional leaders can do more to be exemplary leaders, our collective response must demonstrate what we can achieve when we work together against GBVF. I am committing the NHTKL to be the champion of change to advance a positive social behavioural lifestyle by galvanizing men to actively participate in preventing and responding to issues that adversely affect women and girl children by addressing behaviors and harmful social norms with a special focus on the elimination also of harmful cultural practices.

As a department we need to advance the discussion and programmes that safeguard the right of women in traditional communities as well as in the country at large. The traditional leaders continue to play significant role to address harmful cultural practices, such as:
·      UKUZILA.

We call upon traditional leaders to help educate young boys as they go through the process of cultural initiation, that they integrate an educational programme to teach uBuntu values on the respect of women. Let’s teach young boys to be the defenders of women as a way of normalising that Men should respect women and girl child. Let us create more platforms that young boys would positively learn from older Men who are credible role models to become better men in future.
Let us normalise a society that Men should hold each other accountable for their actions and behaviours to redefine the role of a protector, caretaker of the family environment and society means in our lives today.

Men must be held accountable for all their action and wrongdoing; no number of goats can serve as an apology for sexual wrongdoing. #Hastag “Let Them Rot in Jail”. Let’s normalise that young boys should view girls as equals and we start to change the patriarch cultural mentality from the young age and held create a civilised society, we should be international about our action and programmes. 
This is going to be a journey that we must walk together and with courage and determination, to ensure that women and children in our country should live in peace, feel safety, and create a joyful environment.
We call on, all the men in our societies to heed the call to stand up together with Government, Parliament, Traditional Leaders, Religious Leaders and Civil Society, to be the Men who Champion GBVF matters. In working together, there is no doubt that we will overcome and that we will prevail as a country.

I thank you.