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March 2021 1st edition

Safe Space for Men to fight GBVF

Written by: More Matshediso

Government launches Safe Space for Men and a community care centre for vulnerable children in North West. 

Men and boys from Letlhakeng La Ga Sedumedi village in Tlokweng in the North West can now play a more active role in contributing towards national efforts to combat the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). 

The recent launch of the Safe Space for Men in the area, also known as The Lounge, was led by Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, to give males of all ages an opportunity to hold each other accountable and engage in open and non-judgmental conversations.

It will also enable them to find ways to address social ills, such as the spread of HIV and alcohol and substance abuse, among others; and will serve as a space where they can access services such as HIV testing and psychosocial support. 

This is important because research shows that most men are reluctant to seek treatment or services in public facilities, says the department. 

Young boys will also be paired with positive male role models in their communities, to mentor and guide them towards positive masculinities and healthy lifestyles.

Speaking on behalf of Tlokweng Tribal Authority, Molotsi Motsatsi says this will be of great benefit to villagers and residents of surrounding communities. 

“We need men and boys to come together and put an end to the abuse of women and young girls. This facility is much needed and will go a long way in yielding positive results for all community members.” 

To complement the initiative, the department also launched the Letlhakeng Community Care Centre to provide psychosocial care and support services and skills development to orphans and vulnerable children, including those from child-headed households.

Letlhakeng is the third of the six community care centres being constructed in the province. The department is building 17 centres in total, thanks a donation of over €9 million from KfW, the German state-owned development bank. These are in various stages of development in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and North West. 

“The community care centres will also serve as service points, bringing government services to the doorstep of rural communities,” said Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu.