Men see their role in society challenged by joblessness and rights that are given to women and children. These sentiments were echoed at a gathering for men as they celebrated Men's Month in July at the Esmonti Hall in Ward six. The event held dialogues on topics such as: violence, sugar daddies, polygamy, why men don't want to test for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or do not want to be circumcised.
The intergenerational male gathering raised a variety of issues that challenge them and that have caused an increase in social ills in the community. The matter of banned corporal punishment now means that they can't discipline their kids by hitting them if need be, because the law of the land prohibits this. Eventually, they feel that they have lost control over their kids. The sad but embarrassing truth is that some men live with wives who are physically or verbally abusive towards them and the situation is made worse by the fact that there is a stigma attached to a man who reports that he gets beaten up by his wife.
This abuse further weakens them as heads of the household and fathers. The biggest factor is lack of employment which leaves a man feeling useless and angry, and out of those feelings result irresponsible males who are not particularly concerned about HIV or circumcision matters or even behaving in an exemplary manner.
The men did acknowledge that things have gone horribly wrong in their communities and government needs to step up its efforts through policing to control drug availability, illegal taverns that spring up in the community and arresting criminals instead of colluding with them and accepting bribes.
The convenor of the dialogue, Mayor Eric Ngcongo told the gathering that as men they need to move away from speaking myths and speak the truth to their children about sex and its consequences. "You as a parent can't in this day and age continue the myth that children come from aeroplanes because it perpetuates the social ill of teenage pregnancy, let's not be afraid to talk to our children about the consequences of their actions with drugs, alcohol and dating older men," said Ngcongo. He further encouraged the men to get tested for diseases especially because some diseases can be managed if known and treated to give a person a better quality of life.
Officials were on site to test people for HIV, blood pressure, sugar levels, cancer screening and for those wanting to be circumcised information was at hand.