uThukela District Municipality hosted the KwaZulu-Natal Men’s Parliament on Friday (October 19) at Agra Crescent Civic Hall in Ladysmith. Alfred Duma Municipality Speaker Cllr Themba Ngubane, Sello Maake ka-Ncube and Dr Matome Kganakga from SANAC Men’s Sector were part of the event, whereby men were championing change in HIV prevention and gender-based violence (GBV).
This engagement was held to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems, including cancer and HIV, and encourage early detection and treatment among men. During the dialogues that were held, the stakeholders – including KZN Men’s Sector, UNPA, Takuwani Riime and SANAC Men’s Sector – tried to develop a plan of action to eradicate GBV in South African communities. GBV is common in the southern parts of Africa.
It was said that one shouldn’t wait until gender-based violence knocks on your family’s door before realising that men need to take a responsive stance to prevent the scourge of violence, as sexual violence can directly lead to HIV infection. Men were also encouraged to undergo tests for HIV.
“If you are negative, you can stay that way and use condoms. If you are positive, you can control the virus by taking Anti Retro Viral treatment and make sure you use condoms to protect your partner.” Wise words spoken indeed. Eating healthy food, exercising regularly and drinking less was encouraged in order to live a long, healthy life.
“We know there are many men out there who are afraid of testing because they believe that their lives will change for the worse if they know their status. This may have been the case in the past, but not today. Today, if a person starts Anti Retro Virals (ARVs) and stays on the treatment, they can lower their viral load and carry on with their lives,” said guest speaker Dr Kganakga
In his closing remarks, Cllr Themba Ngubane thanked the community and all stakeholders, reminding men that real men don’t abuse women. He further encouraged men to remember their role as protectors in their households and to be active participants in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children.