Karabo Mokoena Picture: Twitter
“He killed and burnt my daughter.” This was Karabo Mokoena’s uncle Tshepo Mokoena’s chilling statement last month that prompted an intense debate between South African men and women on social media.

For the past few weeks, the hashtag #MenAreTrash has been a top trending topic with thousands of women taking to social media to share their stories of violence and abuse using the hashtag. But what do men think?

The Saturday Star took to the streets this week to ask them.

Edwin Motseokae, 20: As much as I’m offended by the hashtag, I’m not against it. Men do stupid things. I’ve seen it from my older brothers and friends when they are drunk. Part of me feels it’s unfair to put all men in the same category though. The majority of us respect women. However, when I watch the news and read newspapers I learn that some girl has been raped or murdered. This is becoming a habit now. So, I don’t blame any women for thinking that all men are trash.

Hicaboth Morao, 19: I’m not offended at all by the #MenAreTrash hashtag. Far too many women in this country are dying at the hands of men. Men in South Africa have this mindset that they are allowed to treat women in any way they like, when in fact we’re supposed to be the ones that protect and care for them. If this hashtag is going to go some way in helping change the mindsets of men in this country then I’m all for it.

Lindokuhle Mlambo, 23: It’s fair for women to actually say this. I know that the majority of men in this country respect women but with incidents happening so regularly in this country, we as men all need to take responsibility for what is happening. Also the hashtag is quite profound. It’s more than just a hashtag. The message that goes with the hashtag itself is much bigger.

Sir Nozi, 19: When I first heard about the hashtag I did feel a bit offended. I grew up in a home where we were taught to respect women. So, it bothered me a bit that I was being labelled as trash even though I’ve never disrespected a woman before.

Video: Rabbie Serumula/ANA Pictures

But over the weeks I’ve seen the bigger picture and understand the message that is trying to be relayed. We’re at a point where we desperately need more organisations that empower men, especially young men.

William X, 21: I’m not offended and I think it’s fair to classify us as trash. We have a club at school, Men of Honour. We want to boost the morale of men, being fathers brothers, and sons. When you turn a blind eye to these things you’ll never win.

Kiddy Lassie, 18: I think what many men don’t understand is that the #MenAreTrash hashtag does not accuse all men of being trash. It’s been created to highlight the way women and girls in this country are being murdered and abused.

And that is why I agree with the hashtag. It forces us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and evaluate our own behaviour towards women.

It also makes us look at the men we surround ourselves with and hopefully it will encourage us to speak out about behaviour that perpetuates the culture of abuse and rape.

Saturday Star