[notice]Gateway News reporter JOHANITA JORDAAN attended the Real Men March in Cape Town on Saturday. She reports on the day’s events.[/notice]
On Saturday morning 16 March 2013 at 10:00 a crowd of men gathered in the parking area across from the Cape Peninsula Uniersity to take a united stand in the Real Men March against rape and violence against women. The presence of the Holy Spirit was strong, almost tangible.
The Day’s Events
- About 1 000 men responded to a call for real men to join a march in Cape Town to take a visible stand against rape and violence against women and children
- A memorandum of 10 demands was handed over to a Government representative for tabling in Parliament. Demands included establishment of special courts to deal with rape and violence against women and children, measures to stop exploitation of women by strip clubs, massage parlours, media, etc, and fast-tracking of pending laws to combat human trafficking.
- The men proclaimed and signed a VOW to honour women and children in thought and word and action. Each man also committed to ask another Christian man to cosign his VOW and to hold him accountable to his pledge.
- A national boycott of TopTV and its advertisers and sponsors was launched, with the backing of major Christian churches, in response to the Pay TV broadcaster’s plans to screen three pornographic channels.
• The goal is for millions of South African men to sign the VOW, to encourage other men to do the same and to hold each other accountable. Resources available for promoting this goal in churches, men’s groups, etc, include a video clip of Rev Costa Mitchell leading the men in the Vow on Saturday and a text version of the VOW.
• Churches are urged to promote the TopTV boycott by urging their members to cancel their subscriptions immediately.
Errol Naidoo Founder and Director of Family Policy Institute (FPI), and initiator of the march, addressed the men.
He said: “We need the good men to stand up, for houses to come under the authority of Jesus Christ. We are going to be the men that love their wives as Christ loves the church, we are going to be the men who raise our children in the principles of the Lord, we are going to be the men who are good role models in our neighbourhoods and communities.”
Bagpiper, Piperjames, then led the men into battle playing ‘When the saints go marching in’. The men (and some women who joined them) sang gustily as they marched along Keizerchraght Rd towards Parliament. ” No more rape! We want justice!” they shouted along the way. Many carried banners making statements such as: ‘Women have the right to live without fear’, ‘Women are not sex objects’, ‘Mavericks promote adultery’, ‘Anene and Reeva, we remember you and the other thousands’. The sign that surely stood out most was held by an elderly man; it said: ‘I was raped as a child and to this day I still bear the scars, Stop raping our women and children’.
Naidoo spoke again in front of Parliament. “Real men don’t harm women and children, real men don’t rape,” he said, adding that it was appropriate to stand outside the building where our laws are made.
“It is our responsibility to raise our children in godliness, to honor and respect woman and we can only do that by setting an example. Everything our kids learn is caught, not taught.”
Naidoo said that he does not want the march to be a once of event but for it to spark a wave of righteousness in the nation.
Quoting 2011 statistics he said 94 000 schoolgirls got pregnant and 77 000 young girls had abortions.
“Something is horribly wrong in South Africa. Men are paying to have sex with girls as young as 10 years old.”
He ended his speech with exhorting words: “ Good men must stop hiding away or minding their own business. If women and children are being abused in this country, it is your business, make it your business. It’s time to speak out.”
For ALL men
The next speaker, Pastor Barry Isaacs, Chairman of Transformation Africa and General Manager of CCFM Radio, said: “Although the majority of our men here today are Christian men, this evil impacts every man and every family. Whether you’re a Muslim, Buddhist, Jew or Christian, they should have all been here today to say, enough is enough. Our women are living in fear so we are saying to our Justice department: ‘Please, in the Name of Jesus, do something. We want to see our children grow up so that they can walk in the streets safely, that they can play in the streets safely, that they can return from the shop safely.”
He then prayed for God to take His rightful place as the head of South Africa; for Godly government leaders and for the reversal of any curses spoken over Parliament.
Pastor Bongani Mgayi, a local church leader, businessman and media person, then took the stand and read out a memorandum to the Government, demanding that it:
1. Strengthen and increase the capacity of the Sexual Offenses Unit in the South African Police Services (SAPS) with immediate effect.
2. Declare sexual violence and the rape of women and children an urgent national priority crime in South Africa with immediate effect.
3. Urgently establish dedicated law courts in every major city and town that specifically address the crimes of rape and violence against women and children. (Prosecutions and convictions of rapist must be dramatically increased.)
4. Appoint well trained and experienced judges and prosecutors to the Sexual Offences Courts to expedite prosecutions and convictions.
5. Toughen up sentences for sexual offenders of women and children.
6. Prohibit in law the negative sexual stereotyping of women in the media.
7. Prohibit in law strip clubs, massage parlours and businesses that sexually exploit women.
8. Stop newspapers from selling women as commodities in their classifieds.
9. Urgently finalise and implement the “Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons” Bill.
10. Amend the Broadcasting Act to prohibit pornographic movies, adverts etc… on television / Install filters on the internet at tier one level to block sexually explicit content.
Signing of memorandum
Bishop Aaron Makili, President of Great Commission Ministers Network, a fraternal in Khayelitsha, handed over the memorandum to Advocate Hishaam Mohammed, Regional Head of the Western Cape Department of Justice and Constitutional Development who agreed to table the document with the Minister of Justice.
Before signing the memorandum, Mohammed said: “I’m standing here as a real man. We are standing here in front of the Lord, in front of everybody.”
He added: “ The justice system cannot resolve or remove the issue on its own. The real men have to monitor the performance of these things.”
He said that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has prioritised combatting contact crimes, especially gender-based violence. There were 64 00 cases or rape reported last year.
View the video below:
Reverend Costa Mitchell, National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches of South Africa led the men in making a vow to honour women and children.
“This is your moment,” he said. “The real men are not only people who take a stand and march but real men are those who rule their own spirits, it starts with your spirits, its start with your attitudes. Proverbs 16:32: He who rules his own spirit is stronger than he who keeps a city. And I believe we as men are very often giving away the responsibility to rule our own spirit. We can give it away to government, we can give it away to police forces. And in fact it starts in your own heart, it starts with attitudes and it’s not enough to say that I’m a Christian or a believer in God. He will establish a people who reverence His Name and who tremble before Him. Male and female together make the image of God, men do not have the monopoly to make the image of God. Together they represent something of God’s love and this won’t happen unless we say: “it’s my responsibility.”
Mitchell read out the VOW which is a commitment to mind and behaviour change for men, adapted from 1 Peter 2 and 1 Timothy 5. The VOW reads: “I believe that as a man I am created in the image of God, which image I share with my female fellow human beings, and that God holds me accountable for my treatment of myself, other human beings and the very creation itself. I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ came to redeem the creation, and to restore the beauty and the wonder of the human soul, mind, body and environment. Today I make my vow, calling on God and my fellow men to hear, and hold me accountable, to partner with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in God’s great plan of redemption.
“I vow to respect all those with whom I share the world, as equal partners, worthy of dignity, honour and grace.
I vow to serve the well-being of everyone, loving and respecting each person as I love and respect myself.
I vow to treat all with gentleness and kindness, especially those who are smaller, physically weaker and vulnerable.
I vow to celebrate and honour the beautifully unique wonder of the feminine, as equal and complementary to the masculine.
I vow to refuse the vaunting of physical strength in order to impose my will on any person, especially the vulnerable.
I vow to put away harsh attitudes, coarse language and actions that intimidate, violate, dishonour and disrespect women and children.
I understand and affirm that respect is mutual, and that I have no special right to respect based on my gender, physical strength or position.
I commit myself to sexual purity in thought, word and deed, recognizing that sex is a gift from God, for the expression of committed love between a husband and wife within the covenant of marriage, and that sex is never a right, but a gift I may give my wife for her well-being and fulfilment.
I vow that I will never indulge in lustful thoughts toward a woman who is not my wife, nver use violence of any kind toward any woman, and never impose my sexual will or desire on any woman, including my wife.
I vow, before God, that in obedience to God’s Word I will “Live as a free man, but will never use my freedom to excuse evil; I will live as a servant of God; show proper respect to everyone; and live for the well-being of others in thought, word and deed, in the fear of God. I will treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. So help me, God.”
Perspectives on the march
During the event I spoke to various people who participated in the march. Here are their comments:
- Sivu, from the Brotherhood: “It is a sad situation that our country is going through where the dignity and values of woman and their identities are being robbed by us as men. There are roots we need to get to. We as men have to be role models. There are a lot of fatherless households and that plays a role. It is time to really start working in our communities. Be the role models for the youth and the upcoming kids, so they can grow up and know how God wants us to be men.”
- Steve Swart, African Christian Democratic Party(ACDP) MP on the Justice Portfolio Committee: “ I am very encouraged by today’s function where men have taken a righteous stand against rape. Society is outraged at the high levels of rape and we as men have taken a decision to stand together and to start sending a very strong message to other men who rape women — that it is unacceptable. We have also taken a call on Government to increase the capacity of crime fighting units to quickly prosecute rapists and send them to jail for long periods of imprisonment. It’s so sad that so few woman report rape; only 1 in ten and the reason for that is they are concerned about the secondary trauma having to give evidence. Therefore the ACDP says lets increase (sexual) consent from age 16 to 18, which means the woman do not have to give evidence and the person can be found guilty of statutory rape. “
- Dr Wallace Mgoqi, member of the Commission for Gender Equality: (in response to a question about his spiritual vies) “The scriptures are the manual that we are to live life by. If all of us were simply to follow what the Bible says, life would be simple and would not be as complex as this. If we have Christ, the hope of glory, in us, we can then display the fruit of the Spirit.”
- Pastor Bongani Mgayi: “I have this thing to teach the boys, especially in the African culture. The only time a father in the African culture becomes close to his son is when it comes to the initiation stage. About two months prior and during that event, then the father declares him a man and sends him out into the world. This child has never seen examples or been taught to be a real man.”He added: “I am a man and a man is supposed to take care and provide for his family. Ask God to teach you what it means to be a man, father, husband…. and He will do it, He will teach you. Then after He has taught you – teach your children to be men and to raise Godly men.”
- Dr Dion Forster, Power Group Chaplain and a leader of Unashamedly Ethical and anti corruption initiative, EXPOSED: “…We are blessed to stand with the men, boys, women and girls who attended this march. We are encouraging our men to take the ‘Vow to end the abuse of women and children. It is our firm conviction that God desires to bless and transform our nation, starting with our own commitment to change! Of course we also recognise that there are some structural issues that need to be addressed. I said in the SABC interview afterwards that this form of abuse is very clearly linked to corruption. We have some of the best laws and policies to stop the abuse of women and children, however, these are not being upheld and enforced adequately. The result is that we live in a nation with one of the highest rates of rape and violent abuse of women by men and boys in the world. Our slogan is ‘corruption has a name, poverty has a face, we have a voice!’ Christians raised their voices and now we must add actions to our words to see this nation change. It is so sad that almost 80% of our nation indicate that they are Christian, yet we struggle so clearly with these very destructive issues. This march was a great start, a strong witness!”