VUT HOSTS MAN-TO-MAN DIALOGUE TO TACKLE ISSUES FACED BY MALE STUDENTS
By: Themba Nyovane 18 October 2022
Statistics reveal that four out of ten men die of suicide due to unresolved issues in families and societies they live in. Gender-Based Violence (GBV) also remains high and higher learning institutions are not excepted from this.
To talk about these and other issues male students and men in general battle with, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Centre for Health Education and Development together with the Residences Living and Learning Department recently held an educational men’s dialogue at the University Lapa in the Vanderbijlpark residences. The event was supported by external stakeholders such as Old Mutual Insurance, Seriti Vaal, Mina, For Men, For Health and Father A Nation organization.
Themed: “What men battle with?”, the event was primarily targeted at male students but also attracted the attendance of some staff members at VUT, with the aim of find solutions to some of the pressing questions faced by men in societies, especially in the vulnerable communities. Comprehensive factors influencing societies that are driven by culture and stigma leading to men dying of suicide, the rise of femicide and child murder, were some of the areas thoroughly discussed. The dialogue was also designed to educate and equip them on variety of societal challenges they face daily.
In his opening address, Sifiso Xaba who was the program director highlighted that men cannot open up to one another due to lack of spaces for men to gather and speak. He also added that society taught men that they cannot be weak in front of each other and be vulnerable. “However, it is important that we nurture each other to have a society of Brotherhood,” he said.
During the dialogue, attendees were encouraged to be conscious of the stigma that remains across communities when it comes to GBV topics emphasizing that – not only women are victims of abuse and rape. Also, GBV is not a sexual identified subject between men and women but as well the LGBQTI community, men are victims to abuse, rape and violence. Observation done reveal that the issues men battle with are influenced by the abuse of alcohol, abuse of drug substances drives the motives to cases of violence related escalating.
The dialogues come at a time when the University is expected to establish men’s forum to support each other. This will enable the institution to continue to inspire and shape students to be better folks in future, whereby they will lead for change being responsible to their communities and mostly creating a nurtured environment for one another.