Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa receives a leadership award from Archbishop Dr Moffat Dyasi, Apostle Aubrey Malema and Archbishop Mandla Senzela in Soshanguve. Picture: Jacques Naude / ANA Pictures
Pretoria - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa wants an initiative called “Take a boy child to work” to be established as a campaign against the neglect of young men in society.

Ramaphosa said the campaign would help young men to grow up “loathing all sorts of sexism” prevalent in society.

“Fathers need to be present in the lives of young men because they have been neglected,” Ramaphosa said.

He was speaking at an event in Soshanguve to launch a series of dialogues about gender-based violence and substance abuse, targeting boys and men.

The launch was attended by religious leaders and civil society groups, who urged men and boys to get involved in curbing gender-based violence, the spread of HIV and substance abuse.

Ramaphosa applauded religious leaders for the initiative, saying they should continue to spread the message across the country by mobilising men to be part of it.

He commented about the much-highlighted problem of the “bluetooth” phenomenon in the township, a practice of drug abusers using syringes to exchange blood after taking nyaope in order to share the high.

He said it was important for residents to raise the level of awareness against substance abuse. “Let’s say, as the Soshanguve community, that we are going to solve the drug problem, because it can be done,” he said.

The community of Soshanguve was angry and frustrated by the high level of drug abuse, he said.

Ramaphosa pledged to take part in any anti-drugs campaign to be embarked upon by residents.

“We need to develop a curriculum teaching young people about the dangers of drugs,” he said.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who was at the event, said men were responsible for most of the HIV transmission.

He said that in 2010, the government launched its biggest HIV campaign. About 18 months later, 18million people were tested. Among those only 35% were men, and the rest women.

“Men don’t know their status,” Motsoaledi said.

Boipelo Zwane, a participant at the event, said the reason why some women were infected with HIV was because of the “blesser culture”.

“I believe older men play a part in infecting women because they lure them with money,” Zwane said.

The outcomes of the dialogues would be tabulated in a report to be presented to the bi-annual Takuwani Riime Men’s Parliament scheduled for November 19, as part of International Men’s Day.

Pretoria News