Empower Women by Affirming Men to Win Fight Against Gender Violence and HIV, says Deputy Minister

The battle to stop violence against women can be won when men respect the dignity of themselves and others, said Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu, Deputy Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities, on Friday 23rd November 2012, at a gala dinner to celebrate 54 men from across the country identified by their communities as positive role models making a difference in their communities. The 54 everyday heroes were honoured as “Men of the Year 2012” by Brothers for Life in partnership with the South African National Aids Council: Men’s Sector (SANAC MS), SABC Education and supported by USAID/JHU HIV Communication Project in South Africa.

“HIV is a disease of love, power and economics. To win the battle, women must be empowered to negotiate with men who are willing to listen to them. Affirm men and empower women,” Honourable Minister Zulu said. The Men of the Year were identified through the Brothers for Life campaign’s Brothers Health talk shows that air on eleven SABC-radio South African-language stations. The series focuses on the role men play in the advancement of positive health outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities. “With the high levels of gender-based violence in South Africa, men are largely seen as perpetrators of negative patriarchal stereotypes. However, there are those men who go against the grain and make it their life’s work to be role models in their communities,” said Mandla Ndlovu, Project Manager for Brothers of Life.

The wife of well-known Zone 14 actor Patrick Shai, Violet Shai also received a special recognition award for speaking up against her husband’s violence and abuse and in the process helping him to face up to his actions and be rehabilitated. “My wife is a survivor and not a victim,” said Shai paying tribute to his wife. Our very own Mbulelo Dyasi was also honoured as a Brothers for Life Ambassador during this event.The campaign, which coincides with International Men’s Day, is one of many championed by USAID/PEPFAR, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), Sonke Gender Justice, UNICEF and the Interdepartmental Team on Gender-Based Violence (IDMT), that support an encouraging approach to promote positive male behaviours.

SANAC Men’s Sector Secretariat Coordinator Ps Mbulelo Dyasi receives a Brothers for Life Ambassador award.

Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu receives the Ambassador award from Rev Bafana Khumalo Issued on behalf of Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (www.jhhesa.org) and Brothers for Life by Zanenza Communications (011 886 3775).