Two winners of ‘Good Men’ writing contest

2007-12-14 00:00

THE Reverend Thulani Xaba is the joint first prize winner of the "How Many Good Men Are Out There?" writing competition run in The Witness during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. He shared first prize with Shanta Maharaj-Singh, who is currently visiting family in Canada.

The competition was run to generate positive stories about men. Xaba’s story was about a wife who committed suicide and how the husband reconciled with his in-laws who initially blamed him for her death. Maharaj-Singh wrote about her supportive husband, who taught her to believe in herself.

There were also two second prize winners. Gugu Zondi’s piece was on the father of her schoolfriend’s baby. Although a schoolboy himself, he supported the mother of his child through her pregnancy and later having to care for a handicapped baby.

Joan Kerchhoff wrote about Gunter Wittenberg, a retired professor, and the work he has done to support orphans in the province.

All the winners will be treated to weekend getaways sponsored by Fern Hill Hotel and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Other sponsors include the Premier’s Office and KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches (KZNCC).

Lindani Hadebe, responsible for the Men and Gender Programme at the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness, said: "This competition was a real success. We got very different stories, written by men and women, that showed how men can make a difference in women’s and children’s lives. There were stories about the man next door who took his responsibility and stories about men who did amazing things and spent the main part of their lives struggling against violence and inequalities. All of them are role models and we appreciate it very much that they shared their stories with us."

KZNCC’s Nathi Mzila added: "We are very grateful for the partnership of organisations during this project. Still, there are only a few men who are standing out visibly against gender-based violence, but these stories showed that there are men who are making a difference. And it showed that it is worth it to commit ourselves to 365 days of action against violence and abuse … "

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