Mbombela — Men's forums are key to reversing gender based inequality and violence in society.
This was said during a men's summit held in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, as part of the Commission for Gender Equality's (CGE) 16 Days of Activism campaign against the abuse of women and children.
"Gender based violence remains a thorny issue in rural villages and we believe that men's forums will go a long way in shifting the mindsets of violent people," said CGE provincial coordinator Moltah Mavuso.
"We ask ourselves whether we are addressing the wrong audience or we don't have right tools to address the problem aggressively."
Mavuso acknowledged the good work done by men in various municipalities, but added that more still needs to be done to reverse inequality and gender based violence. "We really acknowledge the progress made in Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi local municipalities for forming men's forums," she said.
She also appealed to women to report abusive partners and colleagues.
"We understand that most women hide it because they are depended on the perpetrators but we are not confronting the problem if we don't report them at the police station.
"It is shocking and sad to see that South Africa has a high rate of gender based violence in spite of programmes that we have as a commission and non government organisation," she said.
The summit was aimed at making an assessment on the state affairs at homes and at work, with the aim to share the progress made in gender transformation in society.
Speaking during the summit, provincial coordinator for Sonke Gender Justice, Dumisani Rebombo, said fighting gender inequality must start at home.
"We need to love our kids equally regardless of their gender so that they can grow up knowing that we are equal. We must also be role models to our sons and groom them to become better men in future. ," said Rebombo.
He encouraged men to work together in their communities so that they can inspire young men to join them in their forums.
"Respect your partner, equality means equal respect," Rebombo said.
Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders deputy chairman Sandile Ngomane also urged men to get involved in various awareness campaigns.
One of the men attending the summit, Dumisane Thwala, said most men fail to manage their anger and take it out on their partners at home.
"We need to strengthen the forums in our communities on the ground and localise it so that every men can relate to our programmes and most importantly implement the resolutions," said Thwala. "