By Shitshembiso Mabasa
Listening to Bishop Mafu on Home with Mapaseka last week made me realize that there is a disconnect when it comes to issues faced by men. We are expected to sort ourselves out in isolation, and we must do it overnight. I understand why we are on our own; we have a very horrific track record. However, we need to work together in order effect change that is equally beneficial.
This current woke wave is nothing new, conscious people have always existed and have always been vocal about societal issues, however, the difference now is that conscious people of today have an audience and social influence. We have to utilize this window to identify and root out all that is wrong with us men, and it cannot be done if we are divided.
What is a man? A man is a human being. What is to be a man? It is to protect, provide and wield power. Who is a man? This varies from culture, identity, and socio-economics. Who validates manhood? For Black men, our manhood is mainly validated by our;
- Rites of passage
- Majita (peers)
- Our employers/wealth
- And plaak (bravery).
So who do men account to? Honestly, no one. It’s a choice being bad, good or decent. However, some of our bad choices are misinformed, and that presents an opportunity for us as a society to create awareness and adjust for a new era of behaviour.
Manhood is not that bad. The issue with manhood is that it’s unregulated, and most men are broken individuals with a degree of entitlement and power. How we “practice” manhood is the root of our frustration, anger and hate… I am a Black man and I have a lot of anger inside me; however, it does not make financial sense to express my anger all at once, or at all. As a Black man, I have to manage my “Blackness”, my personality and my emotions in order to fit into the box of “manhood” and “employment”.
Let me do the Maths for you;
Economic opportunity determines my function
as a PROVIDER
This affects my ability or means to PROTECT.
This renders me less-of-man;
I cannot provide, protect
and I don’t wield any POWER.
I am just a statistic, another angry broke Black man.
The environment is not change-friendly or showing any sign of real change. As a man, I am still at risk of being labelled gay or weak if I am emotional as a “woman”. If society is against me expressing my basic human emotional reaction, such as tears, then how will I be comfortable to dig deep and deal with my demons? There is no way as men we can face our demons alone; we need support, and assurance that if we let our guards down, the world will welcome us.
We are holding on to our pre-existing function because it’s all we have, and it’s all we understand, without a stable function we have no purpose. We cannot change to being fluid males, we are scared of that, and we don’t understand it – honestly, it screams GAY to the heterosexual male. As if being gay don’t require one to protect, provide and wield power. Men feel under attack, and because we have normalized majority of our vile behaviour, we are ignorant to the cries of all those we victimize. However, we are aware that our actions are out of line, because most of us do it in private, to hide our crimes.
Power will forever be abused, however, communities change.
We need to come together and fix our society, beginning with Black family units. No matter how much a single Mother teaches her child self-love, it is not the same as having an active loving Father. We need to all come to the table and play our role, which is treating each other as equals and with respect, private parts don’t guarantee dominance. Our interaction with women should be about happiness and love, using women to self-validate non-existent power is weak and a cry for help.
Shitshembiso Mabasa is an on-air content producer for Kaya 959