And the boys ? program presents his film at Rosebank


Esteemed guests, stakeholders and media descended on Rosebank Ster-Kinekor for the launch of What about the Boys? premiere of the movie.

The cinematic aspect of the August 13 program followed its successful launch on June 30.

Chieta CEO Yershen Pillay encourages less talk and more action against GBV. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

The premiere was the official kick off for the groundbreaking intervention on gender-based violence (GBV) with the opening screening of the film where learning materials would also be distributed.

This brainchild of youth development program facilitator Primestars started with 10,000 boys in grades 9-12 from over 100 urban, township and rural schools.

Light Appeal Ministries serenades attendees with a capella sounds. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

Nkosinathi Moshoana, MC of the program and Chief Operating Officer of Primestars, said it was important that the men were role models from whom the young men could learn and be influenced.

Primestars general manager Martin Sweet said What about the boys? offers a liberating paradigm shift that teaches boys how to responsibly inhabit masculinity.

Program MC and Primestars COO Nkosinathi Moshoana lead the brief panel discussion with Smollan executive Kgomotso Sebopelo, Absa executive Thabo Mashaba and Seriti (mining company) executive Thabo Masike. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

“It’s designed to inspire them to share their emotions in healthy ways, accept and connect with others, stand up and speak out against bullying and inequality, and break free from rigid stereotypes,” Sweet said.

Sweet noted that in a report titled Healthcare costs of GBV, research estimated that South Africa lost over R36 billion in 2019 alone. He said the human and economic impact of GBV is too important to ignore and that more needs to be invested in prevention, not just response.

The film produced by Coalstove Productions, directed by Wandile Molebatsi, features veterans like Dr. Jerry Mofokeng and rising stars like Botlhale Boikanyo and Tshiamo Molobi.

The screening of the film would be followed by various ongoing activities, including the distribution of a booklet of shots made in conjunction with the film. The booklet guides the boys on their behavior change journey. Other activities are the implementation of a national mentorship movement, an accountability loop for change through a #DoBetter pledge personally signed by each boy, and a digital platform that will enhance the ongoing engagement and support provided to boys.

Part of the cast for the cinematic aspect of What about the Boys? illustrates various cultures. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

Major executive sponsors include Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta), Seriti, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Absa and more.

Chieta CEO Yershen Pillay said, “We need to do more and talk less. We got involved because this program falls within the brackets that define the work we do. The parentheses are transformation, empowerment, innovation, collaboration and digitization.

Seriti (mining company) leader Thabo Masike said that the few women who entered the male-dominated mining industry said they were victims.

“Therefore, we saw the need to get on board and do something so that we can build a nation of young men who know that we must respect girls as men. We are committed to fully supporting our women in the mining sector for the simple reason that they are there so that they can stand up and be supported by their male counterparts.

Professor Onkgopotse JJ Tabane, Managing Director of Primestars Martin Sweet and the leader of Seriti (mining company) Thabo Masike support the initiative launched. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

Smollan leader Kgomotso Sebopelo said he is committed to working with his employees to educate them and help them become agents of change in their communities.

Absa executive Thabo Mashaba said they had channeled their funds into programs focused on empowering women. They also pledged not to remain silent on the issues that are discussed, but to participate and be part of the solution.

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