December 10 was International Human Rights Day and the day when the Nelson Mandela Childrens Fund’s (NMCF) Boy Joy summit reminded us of the importance of recognising the rights of boys.
Themed “Boy Joy - An antidote for violence”, the summit held from December 9 to 11, closed off the16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children campaign.
The NMCF said it was up to us as a nation to ensure a just society. It also underlined the urgency to eradicate gender-based violence and urged South Africans to explore how they can empower and better understand the challenges, mindsets, and concerns of potential perpetrators.
The summit placed the boy child’s feelings, thoughts, and expressions of happiness, hope and empathy for others, at the centre of the solution to gender-based violence.
A total of 26 boys from Gauteng, Limpopo, Northern Cape, and the Western Cape, with diverse and rich life experiences, engaged with each other, sharing ideas on how to win the war against violence and build a just society.
Chief Executive Officer of the NMCF, Dr. Linda Ncube-Nkomo, said that in the quest for an equal society, we must create spaces where boys and girls lived freely and had equal opportunities for a bright and promising future.
“At the Fund, we have a programme called Girl Power which aims to empower girl children. However, we realised that we were missing another big part of our society. What are we doing for our boys? So, the Boy Joy Summit is here to ensure that we create a safe space where boys, who will eventually become men in the future, can tell us what needs to be done to help boys to express themselves and feel that their joy and well-being matter too,” Ncube-Nkomo said.
The purpose of the Boy Joy Summit is for boys to inform the content creation of NMCF and partner interventions that support boys as agents of non-violence, and promote the GBV-prevention advocacy agenda.
“Of course, we are aware that there are boys who are being killed on any given day across the world. Equally, some men are killed by other men. However, those murders are committed by boys and men. These boys and men are not only killing women and girls at staggering numbers; they are killing themselves too. So, we want to know what steals their joy or what could bring and sustain their joy to help us build and raise a society of good men?” concluded Ncube-Nkomo.