NFP’s 'men only' section

2011-04-18 00:00

MEN must rise up to protect their dignity from chauvinistic and patriarchal tendencies of some men who doubt women’s leadership capabilities as this is dragging into the mud the good name of men in general.

This was the message delivered by National Freedom Party (NFP) president Zanele Magwaza-Msibi to thousands of NFP men (and few women) during the ground-breaking first men’s movement conference to be organised by a political party in the country, which took place at Mahlabathini near Ulundi on Saturday.

The gathering was held to get the views of NFP men on whether it was a viable move to establish a men’s wing within the party, which will exist in parallel to other party structures like the women and youth wings within the newly-formed party.

According to Magwaza-Msibi, this wing, which is only present in her party, will serve as a platform where NFP men will get an opportunity to discuss their own affairs without interference or influence from the party’s womenfolk.

More than 5 000 NFP men, mainly from KwaZulu-Natal and some from other parts of the country, braved the wet and cold to be part of historic event.

Addressing the gathering, Magwaza-Msibi said there are disturbing tendencies attributed to senior politicians in the country who claim that they cannot be led by a woman.

“I do think that there is still some work to be done to change attitudes of some men who still think that women cannot be capable leaders of society … This is disturbing and I think such people are dragging the name of good men that you are into the mud. It is time that you rise up to protect your dignity from chauvinistic and patriarchal tendencies …’’

Magwaza-Msibi appealed to men to give women an opportunity to lead in different sectors of the society.

“Men have always played a significant role in the shaping of the socio-political grain of society as well as to provide leadership and governance to societies across the world …The evolution of time has seen women as well, playing a much more central role in the affairs of society and family life,” she said.

“However, this revolution has somewhat created falsehoods in that, to a certain extent the role of women has been overstated and a sort of unhealthy competition has been created between men and women unnecessarily. The NFP sees the role of men and women as a complementary and not competing one. Continue to provide us with leadership in our homes and in the society.’’

Professor Jabulani Maphalala, a well-know historian, explained the role of “real men” in society and emphasised that historically even before the role of women in leadership was stressed through women’s liberation organisations, women were builders of the families and real men were discouraged from beating their wives.

Maphalala said women have got their role as pillars of families, but sometimes roles shift when men are not working and women become breadwinners.

“Even though there is separation of roles that complement each other between men and women, a real man will do the cooking instead of waiting for the wife to return from work and do the cooking,’’ said Maphalala.

Men were also given advice on how to start and sustain their businesses and were armed with skills to organise effectively for the party.

The meeting resolved to establish the men’s movement, which will be the same structurally as the party’s youth and women’s wings.

Magwaza-Msibi rejected reports from some IFP leaders that she will eventually return to the IFP, describing this talk as nonsensical as it was the IFP leadership that systematically expelled her and other NFP founders.

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