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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Men must lead the charge against GBVF, says Kwela Tebza co-founder

Lerole, the SA deputy chairperson of the National Men's Forum called out some of his close friends who were making advances on his daughter.

Men are the biggest perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and without their participation in the fight against GBVF it’ll be hard to win the war according to music group Kwela Tebza’s Tebogo Lerole.

Lerole said men are largely the missing element and force needed to conquer GBVF.

“The sooner the men can start taking a stand and accountability for their actions, the quicker we will end violence targeted at women, and children,” said Lerole.

Lerole is one of the co-founders of NPO Mzansi Act Now, which was established in 2020 after the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, whose body was found hanging from a tree.

“We need to advance programmes that change the behaviour of men who are perpetrators of these heinous crimes, and by rallying more men as GBVF ambassadors we will advance quickly on the war of GBVF.”

Last weekend Mzansi Act Now hosted a “hike and picnic” at Rietvlei Zoo Farm, as a way to elevate the physical and mental stimulation of communities and raise awareness about GBVF.

Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu was one of the people in attendance.

“She [Zulu] has been on this journey with us from the get-go; she’s been a force that’s supporting us.”

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‘Norms need to be reconstructed’ – Tebogo Lerole

Lerole said it’s important that the initiative was driven by men. “It starts with man-on-man violence… and then once men pay lobola for a woman, they start thinking they own women. These norms need to be reconstructed.”

In 2022 Lerole, who is the deputy chairperson of the National Men’s Forum of South Africa, called out some of his close friends who were making advances on his 22 year-old daughter.

“It does hit home when things like that happen. It’s not showing respect, to go behind my back and ask my daughter out.”

“I’ve cut all of them out, especially when someone doesn’t see anything wrong with what they did and correct themselves.”

“Activism and advocacy is my core focus. Educating broader South Africans from government, corporate sector, faith based organisation, men forums and sectors. We wish to encourage victims and survivors of GBVF to speak out and have a voice, it’s high time we stop harbouring animals within our communities.”

Mzansi Act Now’s growth

Mzansi Act Now has seen growth in its fight against GBV, when it first started its programs attracted about 20 people in the first hike outing, to this past weekend having more than 200 people joining the campaign to bring awareness.

“There were a lot of men and women who came. In the past, we only did the hike and people would go home after, but we’ve introduced a picnic where we engage with them about GBV,” said Lerole.

“Together with my brothers, we created a WhatsApp group with only men that included politicians, celebrities and other influential people, the likes of Black Coffee were in the group,” said the Kwela Tebza member.  

After ideas were brainstormed in the group, the members were trimmed down to have a more focused approach.

Today, Mzansi Act Now is a fully fledged foundation, with active men and women who are members.

“We have satellite offices in six provinces, with our Head office in Gauteng.”

He said the organisation does not plan on stopping its work anytime soon.

“We have a huge awareness programme happening in the month of August. Our year calendar is already jam-packed with programmes to implement monthly.”

Khanyi Mbau’s former bae confirmed that he and his brothers will be releasing a Kwela Tebza album this year.

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