With social media abuzz with Valentine's Day chatter, men on the streets of Twitterville announced that they’ll be attending a "Valentine's Men's Conference" from the 13 to 15 February. The conference isn’t real, nor has anyone ever stepped forward to actually plan one, but men have used the hashtag to highlight the pressures that come with Valentine's Day.
I too soon found myself thinking how it would be if the South African Men’s Conference was to happen for real. Men actually having real and beneficial conversations with each other. Here’s my satirical letter to all men who would be attending and topics I’d like to be discussed.
“Gentlemen, it’s that time of the year again where we, loyal, honourable and hardworking men gather for the annual Men’s Conference. I’ve seen numerous attempts by women on social media trying to distract us from attending, as they woo us with empty promises (chief, you won’t get a present this year either) but I’m glad many of you didn’t give in. Now that we’re gathered here, with one voice and one mission; to advance the male species in South Africa.
"The truth is, some of the worst social issues in SA are directly linked with the upbringing of men in the country, gender inequality, patriarchy, femicide, rape. All us. We need intimate sessions like this, where we can let things off our chest, teach each other, unlearn ideas and take on new challenges in life.
Due to this, I have made a list of topics that will be discussed during the conference that will emancipate us in ways we probably hadn’t imagined before.
Family Planning: Homies are just having babies left right and centre, randomly. While there’s no judging here, we encourage family planning. Family planning will get you away from a lot of things, i.e an unwanted baby mama, you determine the number and spacing of your children, meaning you can prepare for their immediate and long term future. It benefits you in the long run as well.
Finance: Ever wanted to invest in something besides your 9-5? In debt? Want to find better ways to save? Insurance? Property? How to run your household finances better? There’s a belief that the general South African man isn’t ‘woke’ when it comes to finance, we consume a lot. We discuss everything finance here as men.
Agriculture: The expropriation of land without compensation is one topic that musn’t be missed out on. We invite seasoned farmers to share their knowledge and kick start a conversation on how South African will cultivate all of this land.
Anger management: Why you mad bro? While I don’t have research to back this claim up I think most people would agree South African men have a turbulent nature (and that’s putting it very lightly). We need to find ways to deal with anger, or other deep underlying issues most of us don’t get to speak openly about. If anger was managed better, we would probably have less women dying in the hands of their lovers or ex-lovers in the country.
Health: This is an obvious one. Obesity levels are high in the country, and we also have the silent killer, diabetes, all health-related illnesses. You will be surprised by the benefits of changing your diet just a week in...amazing things happen, really.
Sex: Now I know some of you will give me ‘hol up, pineapples’ for this one but seriously. One thing most women don’t reveal is how in depth they openly discuss and research on sex. Up your sex game in 2019 with lessons from experts and dietitians who know just what you need.