Organisation encourages men to man-up enough to embrace vulnerability and express emotion

Craig Wilkinson, CEO and founder of Father A Nation. | Supplied

Craig Wilkinson, CEO and founder of Father A Nation. | Supplied

Published Apr 5, 2024


With the release of an influential video encouraging men to be strong enough to show emotion, a well-known non-profit organisation Father A Nation, has sparked a contentious but important public conversation that questions cultural norms.

For the past 14 years, the organisation has worked to eliminate the underlying causes of crime, fatherlessness, and gender-based violence in South Africa by encouraging men to be more vulnerable about their emotions.

The video shared is a divisive reaction to the hilarious ‘Chasing the Sun 2’ promo spoof from DStv, which went viral on the internet.

The trending spoof that has garnered attention on social media is based on a fictitious, albeit humorous, insight that South African men only cry while watching ‘Chasing the Sun’.

The original video, which drew inspiration from research conducted by the American Psychological Association, emphasised the marked difference in how men and women express their emotions.

Father A Nation released a video encouraging men to man up enough to embrace vulnerability and express emotion because it takes more courage to shed tears than to hide them.

Craig Wilkinson, CEO and founder of Father A Nation, believes that embracing vulnerability will help break the cycle of abuse and create a society where all individuals feel safe and valued.

@fatheranation These are the true champions of the nation. It’s been a week since the launch of #ChasingtheSun2 and South African Crying Man Awareness Day. It’s officially time for South African men to man up and be vulnerable. #SACMAD #positivemasculinity #realtalk #mensmentalhealth @Glen Biderman-Pam @SuperSportTV ♬ original sound - Father A Nation

The men featured in the video open up about the last time they cried, with these events ranging from the death of a friend to the time their child was ill.

The clip further narrates a story of how these men transformed their lives after having found healing by embracing vulnerability.

“Harm to others and to oneself is a very real fallout of failure to express emotion,” said Wilkinson.

“Men are far less likely to talk about their feelings or seek help when they are struggling, and the results are disastrous. Men are also four times more likely to die by suicide, and we see that failure to vent their emotions can make them more violent and abusive.

“We are hoping to start a cultural shift encouraging embracing vulnerability as a strength rather than a weakness. Men’s ‘toughness’ is so deeply entrenched in our culture that there is even a vernacular term, ‘indoda ayikhali’, translating to 'men don’t cry’.”