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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist


WATCH: NPO inspired by Springbok documentary to break stereotypes around men crying

According to the NPO, women cry emotional tears 30-64 times annually, while the global average for men stands at just 10 times a year.


Unlike the original parody of a video promoting Bok documentary Chasing the Sun, NPO Father A Nation (FAN) has created its own version but one that encourages men to be comfortable with crying.

Captioned “The true Champions of the Nation,” the video by the NPO mimics Chasing the Sun’s interviews of Springbok players, but in place of the World Cup winners, are men speaking about the stereotypes around men crying.

The men in the video answer the question about the last time they shed a tear.

“Men don’t give themselves the permission to cry. We were taught from a very young age that you’ve got to man up. We grew up being told that when a man slaps a woman it’s a sign of love, that’s being toxic,” said reality TV personality and Somizi Mhlongo’s friend TT Mbha, who is one of the men speaking in the video.

The men featured in the video are some of the 300 000 males who have taken part in FAN’s programmes to promote positive masculinity and stand against abuse.

“Harm to others, and to self, is a very real fallout of failure to express emotion,” said founder and CEO of FAN Craig Wilkinson.

“According to research by the American Psychological Association, women cry emotional tears 30-64 times annually, while the global average for men stands at just 10 times a year.”

Established in 2010, FAN is a Non-Profit Company that addresses gender-based violence, crime and fatherlessness by restoring and equipping men to be nation-builders, fathers and role models. The organisation teaches men to use their strength to do good.

“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’,” added Wilkinson.

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Chasing the sun

The serious video is in response to DStv‘s humorous Chasing the Sun 2 promo spoof, which stirred a polarised and critical public dialogue about the cultural norms around men showing emotion.

The trending DStv spoof was released a few weeks ago just before Chasing the Sun 2 premiered. The parody is based on a fictitious, albeit humorous insight that South African men only cry while watching Chasing the Sun.

The second season of Chasing the Sun, which details the Boks’ journey in the recent rugby World Cup in France, has already seen a number of the players shedding a tear in the first three episodes.

FAN has praised the Springboks and Coach Rassie Erasmus, who have openly expressed their emotions, seeing them as an example of challenging traditional notions of masculinity.

Rooted in research by The American Psychological Association, the original video highlights the stark contrast in emotional expression between men and women.

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dstv Springboks (Bokke/Boks)