My friend and rapper/producer Amu recently asked me to feature on a track he was putting together for an SABC 1 project around 16 Days Of Activism For No Violence Against Women And Child Abuse, which runs from November 25th to December 10th. I haven’t been doing poetry much over the last few years but this is something that I couldn’t not be involved in. I know there has been much debate about the usefulness of this campaign considering the absolutely tragic numbers and actions taking place across South Africa on a daily basis, but I sincerely believe that, as with most things in life, every little bit helps.
In addition to writing and recording a couple of words for the track, I also participated in a video shoot which featured not only the 18 or so artists who feature on the song but also actors and other television personalities. I think the song and the video came out extremely well and I’m proud to have participated. We need to be more, do more and change more. It is a collective responsibility, especially as men. It is time we stopped this seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of abuse and violence.
2017 update: Every year, as we get to the start of 16 Days Of Activism, I often wonder about the effectiveness of such campaigns. I really believe that every bit helps but, especially this year, I continue to be ashamed by the actions of my fellow men. The stories are tragic. Our responses feel weak and merely excuses. In 2017, the hashtag #MenAreTrash evoked misguided reactions from men, with the feeble argument that ‘not all men’. But, we need to keep pushing, keeping highlighting, and keep seeking ways of changing mindsets. We, as men, cannot keep expecting the victims of our actions to solve the problem. It is time to truly step up.