Men ‘feel the pain’ on Human Rights Day

2013-03-22 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG men “felt the pain” as they marched in high heels from the city hall to Harry Gwala Stadium in Scottsville yesterday.

The streets reverberated with chants of “feel her pain” as the march, to raise awareness of the abuse of women and children, picked up momentum.

Some felt the pain literally as the tight-fitting shoes dug into their broad feet. There were little mishaps as heels and straps broke, while some men held on to their friends to keep from falling over.

A few clever ones had brought women friends along as coaches. “Keep your knees straight,” an enthusiastic young woman told her boyfriend.

Some could not take the pain and ended up walking barefoot, but it was all in the spirit of Human Rights Day.

The march was organised by Youth of Choice in partnership with Msunduzi Municipality and was sponsored by Gagasi FM.

The theme was borrowed from Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence.

Some men were dressed in feminine outfits and wore make-up. They wore a variety of heels: stilettos, kitten, sandals, wedges and slingbacks.

“Stop raping us,” Mlu Mbanjwa’s placard read as he strutted his stuff in orange wedges.

“Looking at the way I’m battling to walk in these heels shows how hard it is to be a woman. I’m here today to say women deserve to be loved,” he said.

Sandile Dlamini said South African women did not have it easy and lived in fear even in their own communities.

“This is the first and the last time I’m wearing heels,” Victor Mathonsi vowed. “It’s painful.”

Said motivational speaker Tineyi Chigunduru: “If you see a man who lifts up his hand to beat up a woman, you wonder what’s going through his mind.”

Gagasi FM DJ Collen Zondo said he had two daughters and every time he read articles on rape he feared for them.

Lungelo Sithole of Youth of Choice said it would have been “great” if more men had attended, but they were happy with the turnout.

He said: “Men are the solution to this problem, so if one man says ‘no means no’ we are hoping the rest will join in.”

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