Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

27 March 2022

The long-awaited Men’s Conference that has been the talk of the town finally happened on Saturday, 26 March 2022 at Soshanguve Shisanyama in Pretoria.

The first Men’s Conference was hosted by the owner of Soshanguve Shisanyama, Gilly Putuka and men from different spheres of life and different ages attended in numbers.

They addressed and discussed issues pertinent to men’s lifestyle and wellbeing.

Money and sex are the downfalls of many men, this is according to Thabo Maatjie a motivational speaker, during his motivational talk at the men’s conference.

The conference was by men for men to address issues affecting them, how they can get help and how their actions contribute to gender-based violence or violence in general.

Maatjie said not many can admit to brokenness whether it’s mentally, emotionally, family-wise or financially. 

“The issue is not brokenness but how we deal with the brokenness, we either embark on fixing it or we medicate it.”

He said men opt to medicate rather than fixing.

“There are two things men run to when medicating, it is not alcohol that we run to, it is just a surface for it, for us to medicate we want money and sex.

“Those are the two things that destroy men,” said Maatjie. 

Colonel Thekiso Mofokeng from SAPS who attended the conference said fifty thousand cases are registered every quarter which shows that South Africans can’t solve their problems, instead of solving problems they resort to violence.

“Cases of social assault are common at police stations such as Soshanguve, Loate, Temba and Mamelodi.

“Those cases are withdrawn because we find some cases are false while others receive money to withdraw the case,” Colonel Mofokeng said.

He added that the term gender-based violence doesn’t exist under South African Police Services but they are working on making it exist.

The MC of the event, Bafana Nhlapo said men are really not encouraged to do well when they are facing difficulties and gave an example of children in the same household graduating.

“The society is very stereotypical, when two siblings graduate from the same household if the boy child does not get a job after graduating, he is told that he is lazy but when his sister graduates and does not get a job the sister is told that she must not worry and that they will provide for her.

“The society is already channelled into believing that the boy child must provide for his family,” Nhlapo said.

The founder of Katekane Community Projects (Gender Based Rapid Task Team), Thabang Leshabane advised men to seek help, that it’s helpful to go for counselling, counselling doesn’t signify weakness.

“My organisation is available to give men the support that they need including social help, if you are unable to get the assistance you need at the police station, our organisation is there for you.

“Men need to seek counselling and get help with various issues affecting them without resorting to violence, we want to avoid having men arrested for issues which can be dealt with,” Leshabane said.

Most of the speakers encouraged men to seek help and counselling when they are overwhelmed or have difficulties, to avoid resorting to violence when they are faced with challenges and to help end gender-based violence.