SWAGAA meets up with our mentors from the Boys for Change and Girl Empowerment club programs to speak with them about the impacts they are seeing after their first few months in the classroom.
Ndumiso Rolens Masuku started as a mentor in February 2018. He works with boys from 9 to 14 years old in two different clubs – the Lion Kings and Abafana Besithende. When Ndumiso first started with the program, he could see how harmful gender norms and stereotypes were already influencing some of the boys in his clubs.
“We’re all about changing lives, I guess, changing the lives and the beliefs we had years ago.”
Act Like a Man, Act Like a Woman is a Boys for Change club activity that delves into the topic of ‘gender’ with club members. Here, Ndumiso starts by explaining the concepts of gender roles and gender stereotypes while the boys described what they think it means to ‘act like a man.’ The activity takes the boys through a series of discussion questions, encouraging them to think differently about what it means to be a man or a woman. The questions guide conversations around discrimination and inequality, and how gender norms and stereotypes can both strengthen and spread gender inequality and gender-based violence. In Ndumiso’s experience, he could see a change wash over the boys he is mentoring. Now, Ndumiso says he is seeing boys and girls working together as a team and confronting gender norms head on.
SWAGAA’s mentorship training opened Ndumiso’s eyes to issues of gender norms and practices and how these, often destructive, ideas are connected to gender-based violence. He is happy to see that these boys have an opportunity to learn about these issues at such a young age, wishing he would’ve had the same opportunity. Of the program, Ndumiso has said, “we’re all about changing lives, I guess, changing the lives and the beliefs we had years ago.”