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You're not bewitched if you cook, men told

2011-11-29 22:51 Mbombela - Husbands who cook for their families or babysit their children are not bewitched, says Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe.

Shongwe was speaking to 500 men during the opening of a two-day Mpumalanga men's summit that started in Mbombela on Tuesday.

"Babysitting or cooking in the house doesn't mean that you are a stupid man and that doesn't mean that udlisiwe [you are bewitched] but it shows love and respect for your family," said Shongwe.

"Real men play with their kids and they help with anything in the house, including cooking when they can."

The summit, dubbed "Asikhulumeni Madoda [Men, let us speak]," is seeking men's views on the abuse of women and children, especially during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

The MEC said most abusers hide behind culture and use alcohol as an excuse to abuse their families.

"There is no culture that says women must be abused. Some men go out and drink the same money that they are supposed to use to provide food.

"When they come back they abuse their wives and children and try to hide behind alcohol.

"I want to warn you men, police will arrest you as they do not take alcohol as an excuse for abuse," said Shongwe.

He asked men to work together in the fight against abuse and report abuse to the police.

He said some men also suffered abuse.

He warned that if any police officer laughed at a man who reported being abused by his wife, he should be reported to higher authorities within the police service.

Save the world

Shongwe also reminded the men to practise safe sex.

"Instead of engaging in unprotected sex, we must abstain, guys. Those who are married must be faithful to their partners and, if you can’t restrain yourself, make sure you condomise to save the world and yourself," he said.

He further encouraged the men to be good examples for their children.

He said many teenagers drank alcohol and had sex because they saw their fathers doing it.

The Mbombela local municipality organised the summit in conjunction with Shongwe's department, the Commission for Gender Equality, Sonke Gender Justice/Brothers for Life and civil organisations.

Commission for Gender Equality acting provincial commissioner Mfanozelwe Shozi said men and women were still not equal in South Africa, especially in terms of economic benefits.

He said a recent study on gender equality indicated that most women did not benefit from any tenders during the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was hosted in South Africa.

"We have conducted a research on tenders and opportunities to women during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in every sphere from the beginning to the end, and we found that women were left outside in most of the tenders and work during the World Cup," said Shozi.

Shozi requested the men to brainstorm ideas on how to address inequality.

"We need to go out of this house having come with solutions on how we can address this disappointment, we all know that women can better manage environments at our workplaces, so why have we left them behind?" asked Shozi.