Office of the Premier 22/08/2019 - 08:46
Social Development Deputy Minister, Zanele Bogopane Zulu has called on Gauteng to develop an informed code of ethics and standards which will tackle issues affecting the boy child.
Bogopane Zulu was addressing the Boy Child Summit hosted by the Gauteng Department of Social Development in partnership with the New Love Life Trust (Love Life) and Save the boy child organisation on Tuesday, 20 August 2019, at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg.
The key focus areas for the code of standards and ethics will include engaging men and boys through advocacy and social mobilisation campaigns to prevent and to confront the scourge of rape culture and gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections in Gauteng.
The minister, who is the leader for Men and Boys Championing Change Programme which is a social and behaviour change initiative targeting men and boys with the goal to address the social and structural drivers of HIV, Tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections.
Through this programme, Bogopane Zulu has had a lot of interactions with boys and men from all races, and social standing from all over South Africa.
During the frank conversations, she said the boys asked her to tackle the problem of men not being present in their children's lives.
"The men we see and are exposed to in our lives make it cool to steal cars and that's the only image we see. We in turn aspire to be like these men as they look cool.
"The boys said the men they aspire to be, make everything that we say is wrong to look cool. They say they use drugs because they want to numb the pain of the love and attention they do not get at home," said Bogopane Zulu.
On gender equality, the minister said it should start at home.
"The boys I met said: 'it hurts us when ours mothers allow us to go and play with our friends while they wash the dishes and tomorrow the same mothers expect us to help our wives with the dishes when we did not wash them at home," she said.
She cautioned the delegates to refrain from addressing men's concerns without their input, "when we want to empower boys, we must also include their concerns. We need to ask them".
The minister called on the delegates to start the conversations in their homes and their communities.
Meanwhile, MEC for Social Development Thuliswa Khawe emphasised that the summit should assist the province in developing framework to empower a boy child which will be adopted by the executive council.
She said this would enable the department to address challenges that non-profit organisations face in implementing programmes that are geared towards advocating, assisting, empowering, protecting, inspiring, enabling, advancing, improving men and boys to ensure a better quality of life and to promote human dignity for all.
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