Let the real African men stand up!!

10 Aug

Creating a better Africa.

The past two weeks have been rather interesting in terms of how African men have represented themselves and how they see and treat women, thus affecting our beautiful continent.

Last week I was invited to join a panel of speakers at the first African Philanthropy Forum. I was invited to speak as a Pan African philanthropist who has used my own own platform to bring about change.
The topic of the panel discussion was ‘The changing face of Philanthropy: Unusual champions driving inclusive change.’

A fast growing affiliate of the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF), the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) builds and continuously expands a learning community of African strategic philanthropists and social investors committed to inclusive and sustainable development throughout the African continent. This community is embedded in a larger, global network of peers who share their goals; and, through educational programs and match-making services, informs, enables and enhances the development impact of their giving and investing.I was fortunate to meet the VP and director of strategic relations for the African Leadership Academy, who delivered a presentation on the Face of African Philanthropy.

My panel was moderated by Dr. Jackie Chimhanzi, CEO of the African Leadership Institute

My fellow panellists were Mr Amadou Fall: NBA Vice President and Managing director for Africa and Mr Dikembe Mutombo, a former NBA player and founder of the Dikembe Mutombo foundation. Two major heavyweights in the NBA and African philanthropy space.


It was rather refreshing hearing of their journeys from childhood to becoming world famous basketball stars to them returning to Africa, giving back to their communities. Mr Amadou Fall started off playing basketball as an extramural and recreational sport. As time went by he realised that he could use the sport that he enjoyed as a vehicle to further my studies overseas. As luck would have it, after one year studying biology, with the goal of graduating as a medical doctor, at the University of Dakar, he was presented the opportunity to move to Tunisia to study further and play basketball. Still with medicine as the goal, he realised he could finish his studies in the US, courtesy of basketball. So, for what started as something he was doing for fun became a vehicle for me to unlock better study opportunities abroad.
Upon graduating from the University of District of Columbia in Washington DC and not being eligible for a local grant to further his studies, he ended up working in a laboratory by day and basketball activist in his spare time. After some time he secured a position with the Dallas Mavericks. He spent 12 good years with the Mavericks, where he worked his way to eventually being the Director of Player Personnel and Vice-President of International Affairs. He also served as the team’s goodwill ambassador internationally and oversaw all scouting assignments. With his passion for Africa and basketball, he soon realised that the continent has so much potential and the opportunity to unearth African talent was one that he could not let pass.
He launched the SEEDS-Sports for Education and Economic Development Academy, a non-profit organisation committed to providing educational opportunities for youth and encouraging economic development through sports.

Dikembe Mutombo was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the State University of New York College at Cortland in 2004 for his humanitarian work in Africa. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Georgetown University in 2010. There he delivered the commencement address for Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences, of which he is an alumnus. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Harverford College in May 2011.
In November 2015, the NCAA announced Mutombo as a recipient of its Silver Anniversary Awards for 2016. The awards are presented annually to six former NCAA athletes on the 25th anniversary of the final academic year of their.

The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people of the Congo.
The Dikemb M hospital

The hospital opened in December 2007 and has treated over 120,000 patients. The hospital has a number of training partnerships. Medical schools such as the University of Kinshasa and the University of Lubumbashi send us their fellows, residents and medical students. The bio-medical technicians have been sent to the U.S. for training. They have a relationship with the new medical school of the Protestant University of the Congo. In 2014, their first promotion will start their clinical rotations at the hospital. They also train student nurses.

My opening remarks included how my philanthropy began over two decades ago and how I have used my public status to speak out on a personal abuse case and how I received healing through POWA and tis creating awareness of abuse across the continent.
We spoke on what is needed on the continent to bring about change and empowerment. My closing remarks included the fact that we needed a strong positive voices from the African man on issues pertaining to women. For centuries it has been women who have been fighting and working towards equality and change and the time has come for the African male to step up to the plate and claim their space alongside us. Gender based violence can only be eliminated with men acknowledging the wrong and being actively involved to raising awareness and standing up to it.

The day then led into a inspirational session with Mr Strive Masiyiwa. Mr Masiywa spoke about how Philanthropy starts in the home and education children. One of my favourite quotes of his : ‘You can have 100 Ferrari’s but does not beat somebody saying you gave me a degree’.
His closing remarks included that he wants to leave Africa a better place, where borders disappear thus creating the ultimate Pan Africanism. He wishes for an Africa that is self conscious of itself.


The closing panels included
Prince Cedza Dlamini of Swaziland, Tsitsi Masiyiwa and Bismarck Byombo from Orlando magic, originally from Lumbasha, DRC. At the young age of 24 he is actively building a school in DRC. The session was moderated by Mr Chris Bradford.

The afternoon left me feeling invigorated and exciting about the future of our continent and our women and children. The next forum will take place in Lagos at the end of October 2017.

After this positive and invigorating flow of energy ,I entered my weekend with peace and joy in my heart.

Then Sunday I was awakened to very disturbing news of hearing how the South African deputy minister of higher education was caught on tape beating up a young girls at a nightclub. The story unravelled and he slapped, kicked and dragged this young women as she had called him gay.
This incident has opened up a number of areas for discussion:
Why would he get so angry about being called gay? Perhaps he is having a battle with being true to himself.
Nobody has the right to beat another individual.
The incident happened at Cubana nightclub and the management, staff and security did not do anything to assist her, in fact it was the survivors brother who intervened.
On Monday he issued a statement saying that he was sorry for the incident but blamed his anger on her provoking him, once again vicim blaming.

Social media went on a frenzy in support for the survivor and demanding that he be fired or that he hand in his resignation.

Soon another incident emerged from another young lady based in Ermelo, who stated that she too was beaten by the deputy minster a few weeks back. She was quotes saying that he slammed her face into a car bonnet. No arrest were made despite a case being opened.

This is rather infuriating as our new minister of police was very loud on social media reporting on how quickly he apprehended four racist suspect who had been caught on camera beating up a black couple and we commend him for that but how is it that a known figure and member of the government still walks as a free man? I suppose our laws are subject to certain people in society

Then I was sent an invitation that went out in 2016 where the very same Deputy minister was asked to speak on a panel regarding domestic violence. Like many other people I was totally flabbergasted at the hypocrisy. I soon was told that he never spoke as the forum was interrupted by students.

This then led to another discussion that has been an major issue regrading gender based violence and that is how men still believe that they have the right to determine our destiny, discuss our rights and manage our bodies.

So in conclusion, we are still faced with many challenges regarding our equality and human rights but it is good to know that we do have champions such as the member of APF, who believe in humanity and what is right and we hope that soon these positive voices of hope will drown out and bury the negative, evil beasts that are destroying us and poisoning our soil.

If you need or know of anyone whoo needs assistance with gender based violence please contact: POWA http://www.powa.co.za

If you need or know of anyone whoo needs assistance with LGBTI issues or access to information please contact: Access Chapter 2 http://www.ac2.org.za

Aluta Continua!!!!

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