Wayne Tewson, an art and design teacher at the Bracken High School in Alberton, Gauteng, wrote the pledge – called Men of Africa – which speaks about how young men have the power to change the current plague of GBV in South Africa.
“With the current surge of GBV going on around the country, social media has been full of hatred against men. This is understandable, but I feel that hatred is not the way to create change. I wanted to change the narrative into one where young men realise that it is in their hands to change what has been created by the older generations,” said Tewson.
Hundreds of boys at the school took the pledge, promising to “build, uplift and honour” women, treat all women with respect, and be the man that people run to, not from.
The initiative started with a call over the school intercom, inviting the schoolboys to take Mr Tewson’s pledge if they wanted to.
“It started with around 50 boys turning up. But then others came later in the day and said that they wanted to take the pledge. And then they wanted to practise it and turn it into a proper video that could be shared with others. It turned from something I had created into something they completely took on board and made into something much bigger. I feel extremely proud of the impact it has had,” Tewson said.
Girls and boys alike have now been sharing the video on social media and spreading the positive message of hope for the future.
“The boys want to be good men and do not want to fall under the current label of being “trash”. This is showing their commitment towards becoming those men,” Tewson said.
Tewson also called on other men to lead by the example they set for their children and communities.
“It is all good and well telling your son to be a good person, but I think the best way to address the issue is to lead by your actions. If men can show that they are treating women with respect, then their children will have the same mindset and true change can happen.”
The boys of Bracken High School are living up to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s message that men must be at the forefront of fighting GBV.
Following the increased incidences of GBV taking place around the country, President Ramaphosa called on all men to stand up and be counted in the fight against this scourge.
“The boys want to be good men and do not want to fall under the current label of being “trash”.