Hundreds of men marched down East London’s Oxford Street in a public display of honouring of all men in the world.
The march was organised by the City together with Eastern Cape Aids Council (ECAC), South African National Men’s Sector, and Brothers for Life and the provincial House of Traditional Leaders to mark International Men’s Day. On this day, men were encouraged to make a commitment against violence against women and children, and to say no to rape and other sexual crimes. Men were also mobilised against inter-generational transactional sex.
Speaking about the theme of this year’s activities, “Men can be responsible,” Reverend Lulama Ntshingwa, the chairperson of EC Men’s Sector, said: “The programme aims to support initiatives that address the role of men in combating the spread of HIV and AIDS, as well mitigate the impact of the disease in our communities.”It also sought to support all other national, provincial and district initiatives aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of South Africans.
The march, which took place on 19 November, started at Trinity Methodist Church on Oxford Street and ended at the East London City Hall. Welcoming guests to the event, the City’s portfolio head of health and public safety, Rufus Rwexu, said: “We welcome the partnership between these sectors together with the metro in developing programmes to promote gender equality between men and women.
“The City was grateful to the ordinary men and women who took part in the march to show their stance against rape, domestic violence, and other sexual crimes. “The metro is attempting to address the concerns of vulnerable groups such as women, older persons, youth and people with disabilities through their special programmes unit. “We are committed to programmes that restore dignity to women and also to actions in the best interest of children” he added. “The men’s march is a clear indication that there are responsible men who are genuinely concerned about violence and abuse against women and children. “To end the day’s activities, those men who attended made a pledge to women that they would support them before, during and after pregnancy. “We also apologise for the murder and rape that took place in various areas of the Eastern Cape and we oppose violence against children, especially children with mental health [issues],” said Mbulelo Dyasi, from the South African National Men’s Sector. Also in attendance were representatives from the Gauteng, Limpopo and North West provinces. Sonke Gender Justice, National Association of People with AIDS and Progressive Men’s Movement of South Africa also attended.