MEN’S BATTLE FORUM: A PLATFORM FOR MEN TO UNVEIL GROWTH PATHS AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT
By: Siphesihle Maseko – 17 November 2023
Recently, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Institutional HIV/AIDS department hosted a Men’s Battle Forum at the VUT Lapa located at the university main residences. This annual gathering is a beacon for men – both staff and students – offering a sanctuary where vulnerability and authenticity about their journeys are welcomed.
Recognising that everyone faces their own battles demanding support, the focus of this event was specifically directed towards men. The turnout was exceptional, with active participation and valuable insights from both attendees and distinguished guests. The event spotlighted five crucial battlefronts demanding exploration: Family/Home, Physical and Mental Health, Substance Use, Work/School, and Financial Challenges.
Attendees and guests were divided into five groups, exploring each theme, sharing their experiences, and exchanging feedback. This participatory engagement was pivotal, aligning with the department’s goal of fostering a platform where students and staff could empathise, relate, and potentially cultivate mentorship and guidance opportunities in the future.
Distinguished guests representing organisations such as Father A Nation, South African National Council in Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), Seriti, and Men4Health brought invaluable perspectives, enriching the collective wisdom shared during the event. Their contributions resonated strongly with attendees, evident in the positive and encouraging feedback received by the department.
The resounding response from participants has fueled a growing appetite for more such events in the 2024 Academic Year. The department is poised and eager to expand their efforts, aiming to create further avenues for engagement and support, not only for men but also for women on campus. Anticipate exciting developments ahead!