A real man

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust... We watched as the soil hit his coffin. This was a sad day indeed! On this day, we said farewell to a man who was like no other in the family.

There was so much contrast within the different groups in attendance. The women and children wailed uncontrollably. As the priest went on with his sermon, I looked over to my father and he was blankly staring at the red soil that was about to cover his younger brother.

Then, a single tear drop trickled down his cheek. This was the first time I ever saw my dad cry! I was taken a back. In all my 27 years I have never seen him like this. Heartbroken. As if he could feel my stare, without looking up, he turned and rushed off to the coffee plantation. Interestingly, he was not the only one in the coffee plantations, dozens of other older male family members; all with their backs turned, sobbed uncontrollably!

There is still this misconceived idea that men do not cry; we do not feel. We still live in a society that looks down on you as a man if you show ‘weaknesses’. This misconception, among other factors, inhibits progress when it comes to Gender Justice and Equality.

Transformative Masculinity is a program designed by Africa Alliance of YMCAs. It aims to help young men understand masculinity. What it means to be a real man!

This is a safe space where young men seek to re-establish male self-esteem because once there is confidence in masculinity there will be improved social relations between men and women. A better self-awareness and self-understanding leads to an appreciation of their masculinity by both sexes regardless of what gender role they take up in society.

The socialization of males and the male child needs to be looked into. It is possible to be sensitivity, respectful and dignifying and still be a man.