“People will not remember what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
I remember the first time I ever took a mic to speak to a group of strangers. It was a meeting of some young people. Some younger than I and some much older… But still young men and women.
I remember that the question was along the lines of a hashtag that was trending on South African social media platforms, #MenAreTrash.
The hashtag came after increased coverage of domestic abuse and even murder of women at the hands of their most trusted… Their loved ones.
At the time, I had been going through somewhat of an awakening of some sorts. I was filled with more thoughts than ever before. I would even skip class on a Wednesday afternoon just to entertain my mind which just seemed to bombard me with more angles and perspectives to this thing that we’re living.
I stood up to answer on behalf of a smaller group. We had struggled to find a spokesperson, so I volunteered to represent, and that was when my mind poured out onto the topic. I can still remember the feeling of a growing confidence with every world that came out. And since we’re living in this politically correct world that we have adapted, or is it adopted?… Since we’re living in this age, I can remember being prepared to defend every word that spilled out of my lips.
I highlighted that one of the causes to this issue was the lack of two-parent households in South Africa and increasingly, the world at large.
When a young boy grows up without a father, or a father figure for example… he misses out on the opportunity to watch and leach off from somebody who has a more mature understanding of what it is like to be a man, how to carry one’s self, how to show strength and how to love as a man should.
I am aware that other factors such as tradition lost in translation, society lost in transgression, and adolescent minds lost in transit, all play their own part in a much larger picture…
But ask for the statistics, analyse not only the quantitatives – but look at the qualitatives too – a problem like gangsterism for example, suggests that perhaps when the young boy starts to see his body growing with increased testosterone, starting to feel the strength in his arms and legs, he may believe he’s been naturally gifted a weapon.
And so, even though he seems to be growing into a man through biology – he has not been taught how to handle the other problems that a man would find himself dealing with in his lifetime… And so, it becomes easier for a lad to strike a woman when the going seems to get tough.
A year or so after this, I moved to my new home and there was a gentleman who used to stay here before I did. He had just happened to be at the group meeting on that night too and he repeated that opening quote, saying that whatever I had said, he felt it.
And that’s been the same with me and this blog, and the other bloggers I have bumped into whilst I’ve been here.
The comments, reblogging and even some features on your blogs. I might sooner or later forget the words, but I will never forget how confident you make me feel, even to write this post.