A new men’s movement marched into life in Port Elizabeth last Friday on a mission to restore a positive, hopeful and godly image of men to counter their gender’s tarnished reputation as rapists, abusers, absentee fathers and drunkards.
As men of the new Phila Ndoda (Xhosa for “Come alive men!”) movement strode into Walmer Township carrying placards calling on their peers to stand up, speak up and come alive, spectators cheered and called back: “Phila Ndoda!”
Marchers made declarations such as “I am a provider” and “I am a good man” to highlight positive attributes men have to offer.
Visionary of the new movement, Pastor Zolile Dayimani said that the Lord had laid heavily on his heart a mission to restore positive male figures in society and provide a platform for men to be vulnerable and proactive about challenges they faced.
Speaking to Gateway News as pastors and men from around the city prepared to march, he said: “Today we are creating awareness and launching a movement — so it’s a historical day. The movement is called Phila Ndoda.
“We are saying men come alive, men be visible. We as men, we do exist, we care, we love. We are hurting and we are also vulnerable, especially at this time when there is so much gender-based violence — and we don’t want to be painted with the same brush that we are all rapists. So now we are speaking to the conscience of men to rise up.”
Emphasising that Phila Ndoda is not a church movement or a political movement but a movement for men of all races, he said he was encouraged by the response of many people he had spoken to that it was the right time for such an initiative.
“We have got wonderful people on board — doctors and psychologists who can talk to men about issues like depression and suicidal thoughts that affect men and to know their rights. Some of them have children outside marriage; we encourage them to revive their relationships with their children through this movement.”
After Friday’s march, the men assembled opposite Walmer High School to talk to one another and pray.
Dr Dave Pederson of Fountain Vineyard Christian Fellowship addressed the gathering, saying: “Men must be godly, forgiving and serve their wives.”
News about further programmes and events will be posted on Phila Ndoda’s social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).