South Africa is plagued by numerous challenges related to crime, including rape, domestic abuse, theft, burglary, gang violence, and other related offences, particularly within black communities. Langa for Men, a non-profit organisation in Cape Town, recognised the importance of providing a platform for young people to understand the nature of abuse and crime, and to equip them with effective strategies to address these issues.
Siyabonga Khusela, co-founder of Langa for Men, believes that society has on numerous occasions failed the boy child in Mzansi.
In August of 2019, he and his business companion, Luyolo Lengisi-Hawule, established Langa for Men. The intention was to serve the residents of KwaLanga and beyond.
These activists understood the significance of establishing an organisation that would assist young boys in becoming responsible men who respect society and comprehend the true meaning of masculinity, as opposed to becoming perpetrators.
‘It takes a village to raise a child’
As an only child, Khusela never experienced a typical childhood. Due to the overly safeguarding of the adults in his life, he did not acquire the necessary skills to effectively interact with other children. After his mother’s passing, he devoted most of his time to reading and participating in community activities.
In 2019, he founded an organisation called Helping Hands. This organisation aims to assist individuals who have been previously disadvantaged and are unable to afford certain necessities.
Spoken out against violence
Lengisi-Hawule is a multi-talented artist who has expressed his emotions through poetry for many years. He has showcased his talents in various settings such as drumming, playing the marimba, and reciting poetry. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to travel to America to perform.
He speaks about political challenges, the broken system in South Africa, and other societal issues. He identifies as a feminist because he acknowledges that males and females face unique health and social challenges.
“I pledge to protect a male child, a girl child, and women. There are many issues happening in our societies, and if we ignore them, they will be buried without any outcry,” he says.
Since his primary school days, Lengisi-Hawule has actively participated in numerous organisations. He has worked with Emthonjeni Arts Productions, Love-Life, and several other organisations. During his journey, he came to the realisation that a young boy requires a safe space to express his emotions, learn new things, relearn old ones, and unlearn harmful behaviours.
‘We need more safe spaces’
Khusela believes that we are all the victims of untold stories and if we don’t help one another, we will end up hurting each other. He adds that “a broken society breeds broken men”.
“Showing love and care to your community means that you are investing in a free and safe community,” says Khusela.
Meanwhile, Lengisi-Hawule notes that before they formed Langa for Men, the township was not really vocal against gender-based violence. “Everyone is free now in terms of voicing out their feelings and the youth is also engaging much better towards the social ills,” he says.
Lengisi-Hawule adds that many rape cases are never reported and go unnoticed.
“The youth is drowning in anxiety and depression as they battle these haunting thoughts. Substance abuse is one of the biggest factors to many gender-based violence and femicide cases, but the youth continue to use these killers as a way of escaping their childhood traumas.”
The broader perspective
According to Khusela, Langa For Men acknowledges the significance of men’s and boys’ participation in the battle against gender-based violence.
“We believe that by nurturing and empowering young men to become allies, protectors, and equals to women, we can effectively reduce the incidence of gender-based violence against women and children. Our approach involves healing, motivating, and shaping the male youth.”
Lengisi-Hawule has identified a prevalent abuse issue within our communities, with a particular focus on the mistreatment of young boys.
He says establishing a secure environment for these children requires the cooperation of the entire community. “A guardian should be concerned if they do not know the whereabouts of their child. We are living in a fast-paced environment and cannot ignore it.”
Khusela says girls are frequently exposed to prostitution or fall prey to human trafficking. “We cannot win this fight by ourselves. We need the entire community to come together and take a stand against these crimes.”
Since 2019, Langa for Men has been working in collaboration with Langa SAPS and Langa Patrol. They have observed a significant decrease in criminal activity in the area, indicating that Langa has undergone a positive transformation.
Would you like to report a crime?
In the event that you have been a victim of a crime, it is imperative that you report the incident at the nearest police station in South Africa.
To report a crime anonymously, you can call 08600 10111 or dial 10111 for crime emergencies. Our service is available round the clock, 24 hours a day.
Learn more about how to report a crime.
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