We grow up in a society were a girl child is groomed from an early age about what it means to be a woman and how to behave. However who teaches boys to e men? I have recently learnt of a Sepedi proverb that I still haven’t gotten right yet, but it’s on the lines of “ngwana ngwenenyana o hwetsa molao batswading. Wa moshemane o e hwetsa ka tsela”. To my Bapedi fellows I am sorry for wrongly arranging the proverb.
But what the proverb entails is that a boy child learns life from the street, this gave me a glimpse of men’s behavior, they adopted habits and teachings from the streets. The streets are just like that, unruly and cold.
With this being said I do not excuse the abuse which they inflict but I am opening grounds of understanding to the bigger problem which is embedded in men.
Currently South Africa has a very high rate of fatherless children and as much as there are many reasons around the subject. Today I’ll limit it to how boys were not equipped for the transitioning to being men and taking accountability for their action.
The societal structure attaches the connotation of being a man to masculinity and possession. Proverbs such as “bo botse ba monna ke kgomo tsa gagwe” are loosely translated to embracing men for their possessions. However a deeper meaning to the proverb was to teach responsibility to boys who used to herd cows, that when you take care of your cows they will multiply. And this is a general life rule were when you invest in something you will get something back.
The streets have emotionally discarded and dehumanized women in every possible way and what we see men doing today proves that the streets are not the best teachers.
Boy children need to be taught how to be men. Our public figures are not doing enough to teach a boy child to be a man. Public figure doesn’t only refer to the men we see on our screens daily but to every member of the community. Our African culture has obligated us to raise a child as a community.
To combat the level of brokenness in men we need to start unlearning the street life and start instilling principles in a boy child that will not attach their identity to masculinity, power and possession.