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Amatyma: speaking to the mental, physical and financial wellness of fathers

Published Jun 20, 2022

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Johannesburg - Driving the Amatyma movement, founder TT Mbha spoke to South African actor Abdul Khoza on his weekly feature called Wellness Check-in where he speaks to different fathers about their mental health, physical wellness and financial wellness.

Speaking about the importance of the mental health of men, Khoza who is actor Sthembiso Khoza’s younger brother, said he is currently working on a single that speaks largely on the mental health of men.

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“I personally feel that it is such a neglected issue (mental health) and a neglected pandemic to a point that it’s taken a couple of people in the media industry to realise that it’s a big issue, because we as men cry on our own and no one comforts us. Some men are denied access to their children, and they have to put up a fight just to see their children,” he said.

Khoza said with the pressure that many men feel, it’s tough being a father in a country like South Africa and a movement such as this is needed.

“The Amatyma movement is so important and impactful. I was touched by it when I first spoke to TT. My focus is on raising my two daughters the best way I can - to have them in a healthy, conducive environment. There are many factors that contribute to one’s mental health and you need to remember that men deal with issues differently from women - we don’t easily seek help because you’ve grown up believing that ‘men don’t cry’. So, this is to change the narrative that we must talk, we must cry, and we must work on our inner selves in order to be the best fathers, partners, uncles, brothers, sons, and community members we can be. Our forefathers have left us. We are the ones who need to set the example and put our best foot forward,” Khoza said.

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“The Wife” actor was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal and appeared in a number of television dramas including “Intersexions“, ”Ring of Lies – Season 2“, ”Tempy Pushas – Season 1“, ”The Road – Season 1“ and ”Uzalo – Season 1“. He said his father played a major contribution to the man that he is today.

“My father taught me so much with tough love. I am the man I am today because of him. He made such an impactful contribution to society by teaching karate to many young men in various communities. He taught them discipline and important life skills. I am strong in character because of him.”

Khoza, who is a father of two daughters, Azamahle, 9, and Okuhlekwethu, 2, said going back to basics in raising children is important for him.

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“Social media has created a divide between parents and their children. Kids are always on the internet, always on their phones. Parenting in our time is difficult because we’re so pressured by things we shouldn’t be pressured by; social media has taken over our lives that we’ve almost forgotten who we are. We need to go back to basics, when it comes to simple parenting. I try my best to keep out of the eye of social media because I want them to enjoy their childhood and enjoy being kids,” he said.

On how he takes care of his mental health, the 34-year-old said he finds healing through prayer. “I strongly believe in prayer. I turn to God in good times and in bad times. It’s vital to stay grounded when there is a negative influence, such as, a life filled with alcoholism and violence around us.”

“Fighting the scourge of GBV (gender-based violence) begins with us. We need to go back to the days when we respected and loved our neighbours and treated them like they are our uncles and fathers - amatyma wethu. If we can bring that culture back, we’ll work towards treating women and children well and raising them well without using violence as a language. I want to make an impact and touch lives through my music.”

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