By Sphelele Ngubane

Agroup of concerned men has come together and established an organisation to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence and femicide (GVBF).

The founder, Smangaye Xaba, said the GoodMen Foundation (GMF) encourages men, from all communities across South Africa, to actively participate in creating social change to heal and build communities.

The group does not only want to condemn violence after an incident, it has also formulated various programmes to curb GBVF, including community-based dialogues that inform and empower community leaders to become active GBVF champions.

“Local councillors, religious leaders, school principals and business leaders are empowered to coordinate dialogues in their respective spaces of influence, working with the GoodMen Foundation.

&These robust dialogues are not only for men, but also women and youth,” he said.

The foundation has also taken its initiatives to institutions of higher learning.

The Tertiary GBV Alleviation Programme aims to create a safe environment for staff and students to report sexual offences, provide trauma counselling for victims and ensure justice is served.

Xaba said the foundation also wants to establish safe centres at different institutions, to drive awareness campaigns and host staff and student dialogues.

Through its events, the organisation is also running a pledge campaign to get one million men to sign a pledge against GBVF.

“We want to inspire one million conversations and one million actions against GBVF, in five years. Men are being mobilised to participate in the International Men’s Walk for Change, a march through communities, especially hotspots,” he said.

A member of the foundation, Soweto Mandlanzi, said his contribution is to mentor young men who need guidance and father figures. Men from all walks of life have to rise up in their communities and show leadership in social ills. “We know part of the problem is the vicious cycle of a lack of guidance as young men grow up, and the neglect of boys in some families. I believe it is useless if I do not speak out, do something right and protect women,” concluded Mandlanzi.

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