Human-rights activist Enos Magwabeni says churches should also focus on public social issues.

'Men should be able to talk about abuse and face life'


The role of churches should shift from solely focusing on private spiritual matters to a focus on public social issues. This is the view of Mr Enos Magwabeni, a human-rights activist from Tshilamba outside Thohoyandou.

Born and raised in Makonde village, Magwabeni is the driving force behind Vhanna Kha ri Ambe, an initiative aimed at encouraging abused men to come forward and share their stories. Vhanna Kha Ri Ambe is the brainchild of the Makonde-based Wells of Revival Church and its associated churches. The name “Vhanna Kha Ri Ambe” stems from the Tshivenda phrase meaning “Men, let’s talk”.

In an interview with Limpopo Mirror, Magwabeni explained that the initiative’s name was chosen after recognising the need to involve men in addressing gender-based violence. He emphasised that the first gathering, serving as the launch date, will be on 30 March 2024, followed by additional activities to provide men with the opportunity to speak out.

“This is a call to men to come forward and voice their concerns. We believe that churches can make a meaningful contribution towards reversing this GBV scourge. It is for this reason that we felt the need to establish a forum that will serve as a voice for men to express their side of the story. We aim to encourage men to come out of their shell and voice their hidden complaints. We believe there are always two sides to any story, and besides the stories of women and children, we also want to hear the side of the story from men.”

Magwabeni highlighted that men’s silence is a significant part of the problem. “As a society, we still feel ashamed about boys and young men expressing feelings that could be interpreted as weakness, such as crying when they hurt themselves or when they feel scared or sad. Because we associate boys with rejecting feelings they perceive as weak, they are likely to spend their lives hiding the full range of their emotions. This is painful, damaging, and even dangerous. We want to raise boys who will be able to talk freely about the abuse they face in life.”


News - Date: 25 February 2024

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