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A girl walks to school in South Africa.
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Education

How Tragedy Inspired Sello Maake KaNcube to Speak Out Against Gender-Based Violence

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Gender-based violence is widespread in South Africa, but the effort to find solutions too often blame the victim rather than the perpetrator. Sello Maake KaNcube is working to change this by urging people to educate their boys not to act violently towards women and girls. Join us by taking action here in support of the UN Global Goal for gender equality.

Celebrated South African actor, entrepreneur, and theatre practitioner Sello Maake KaNcube urges parents to talk to their boys about important issues at a young age.

Speaking on Massiv Radio, Maake KaNcube said he started to talk to his daughter when he heard that his older son had been dating four women before he passed on a few years ago.

His son tragically died in a car accident, but Maake KaNcube told presenters during the interview that he was glad he was able to have this conversion while his son was alive.

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Maake KaNcube's own personal experience of fathering five children with five different women as well as his son’s experience, is what led him to start these dialogues with his own family as well as other parents.

The AfriMan Rising Campaign, the brainchild of the Sello Maake KaNcube Foundation, hosts various dialogues in different parts of the country with the aim of challenging violent masculinity.

“When my daughter told me that my eldest son Mxolisi (who was 19 at the time) was dating about four women; I sat him down and told him that I had dated many women whom I have children with, which was wrong,” Maake KaNcube said.

“I asked my son if he didn’t wish I was around when he was growing up," he continued. "I didn't have my father around which is something I didn't want to happen to him. I wanted to break to the cycle of no paternity, so he can break the cycle of men having babies and leaving them.”

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Maake KaNcube blamed fathers' absence in their children lives as the reason for some of the country’s social ills, saying that men can correct their actions.

“Men repent and do better given a chance to be better men in society," he said.

Maake KaNcube said he didn’t want his children and other young men to repeat the same mistakes he had made in his youth, and that men should learn to respect women and self-regulate.

“People who are at the forefront of these disruptions [gender-based violence] are men," he said. "We need to self-introspect and talk openly about issues that hurt us." 

Through his organisation, Sello Maake KaNcube Foundation, he organises mentorship and speaking programmes that are aimed at teaching boys and young men about life lessons.

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Maake KaNcube mentors boy children and hosts seminars through his foundation.

The foundation’s other commitment is supporting upcoming artists who want to break into the music industry and the performing arts, so it "serves as a social foundation which focuses on creating social cohesion through the performing arts," according to its website.

The foundation includes a group of artists — called Artists for Social Advocacy and Change Ensemble (ASACHE, pronounced Asakhe, the Zulu word for "let's build").  

This group has been showcasing a play about gender-based violence, written by Sello Maake KaNcube in 1998, called Komeng (meaning initiation process) throughout Gauteng theatres to raise awareness of the issue.

South Africa has some of the highest levels of sexual violence and related offences in the world, accoridng to the Foundation for Professional Development — with experts also believing that many crimes are going unreported. 

According to the most recent data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) meanwhile, South Africa's femicide rate is almost five times higher than the global average. 

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Maake KaNcube was also part of the Ubuntu Initiative: Men Taking Responsibility campaign, which was launched in June 2017 to encourage men to take responsibility for helping protect women and children, rather than harming them. 

And Maake KaNcube partners with universities and schools and talks to young people about the impact of gender based violence.

“As a father, one of the things I really value in my relationship with my children, is the honest conversations I am able to have with them,” Maake KaNcube told an audience at North West University's Mahikeng campus. “One of those conversations is how we as men view and treat our women.”


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