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Thamsanqa D. Malinga
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Dear brother - you are hurting me, male as I am

15 February 2013, 10:53

On days like this it sucks being a male living in South Africa. Why you ask me?

Before I respond allow me to tell you that in fact this opening line is a reworked comment I saw on social media. A female DJ wrote on Twitter "not the greatest of times to be a woman in South Africa". Before that a young woman had posted "I've never been this scared of being a woman in SA right now! God help us, save us". These comments, and most probably many others who went unnoticed, were written out of genuine fear in light of the recent spate of abuse against women. For the past few weeks, newspaper headlines were hogged by stories of every form of sick and gruesome violence against women. This has resulted on the spotlight being shifted to South Africa by the international community and more especially to the male citizenry of this country - the so-called perpetrator.

So with sadness, anger, disgust and pain I write to all men who have raised the hand against women, men who have raped, killed or committed any form of abuse against women, to say to you that your actions are making my life as a male in South Africa a living hell. You are painting a picture of me as an animal of sort, a monster who does not deserve to live amongst humans.

You see growing up sayings such as "khula ube yindoda" and "kulukhuni ukuba yindoda" were clichéd. I eventually understood that it was not just a cliché but statements that sought to remind me on how as a young man I need to be focused and help make this world a better place for others, especially women and children around me. When such statements were uttered I think their deeper meaning was not only directed at only me but at all males, you included. Now when women find themselves victims of your actions to a degree where the male species is seen as ruthless you make it a challenge for those of us who are trying to make our households, communities, workplaces, this country and the world a better place.

When some of my female friends have constantly declared to me that "men are dogs" and "men are psychopaths", I have boldly tried to have them understand that it's not fair to generalize. The same way I have called to order men who label women as bitches and whores because I am born of a woman and a woman has bore me two wonderful children. So my dear brother I want to have you know today that your actions are hurting me, being the man I am (and believe you me I'm no sissy).

It is tough being a man that I will tell you right now but the world does not need you to be a pugilist, a rapist, a Rambo or some sort of sadist. Please don't make it unbearable for others.

To all the males out there still trying by all means to better the world whilst swimming against this tidal wave, I thank you. I beg you to continue with your good intentions of making sure that the South African male does not become the pariah of the world. Let’s continue to stand up against any form of violence against women and children and boldly say “not in our name as men”.

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