International Men’s Day – Min Fernandez highlights that "It starts with Boys" | Western Cape Government


International Men’s Day – Min Fernandez highlights that "It starts with Boys"

18 November 2019

On November 19, International Men’s Day commemorates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. The International theme adopted for this year is, “Making a difference for men and boys.”

It is an international event that is celebrated in more than 70 countries worldwide.  International Men’s Day was founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a history lecturer at University of the West Indies in Trinidad Tabago.

Social Development Minister, Sharna Fernandez said: “Building a cohesive and improved society ‘starts with boys’. I want to encourage our men and fathers especially to teach their fellow young men and boys the values, characteristics and responsibilities of being good role models.”

South Africa at large remains a patriarchal society. This vicious cycle of patriarchy stands a far greater chance of being broken, if we focus our efforts on creating interventions that help to positively develop the morality and behavior of young boys, as their growth and emotional stability is crucial to their own well-being and for their loved ones.

Far too often we find a lack of emphasis placed on improving the behavior of the boy child amongst many families and communities. Minister Fernandez calls on society to not leave our boys behind as we work on developing a culture of positive, well adjusted, responsible citizens.

DSD places the development of the both the boy child and girl child at the centre of the services and initiatives provided to the residents of the Western Cape.  The Department has quadrupled the number of young people benefiting from Youth Development Services - from 5600 in 2009 to over 19 000 this year.

DSD has established Youth Cafés across the province, which record around 10 000 visits per month. These cafés are tailored to offer opportunities for young people broadly referred to as “NEETs”, namely young people not in employment, education or training.

The Department provides safe spaces for 87 500 children per annum in funded ECD centres and after school spaces, recidivism prevention services for 20 338 children and adults in conflict with the law.

“In an effort to reduce all forms of violence in South African society, we all need to challenge the destructive and outdated expectations around manhood that are counterproductive to building a gender inclusive society,” says Minister Fernandez.

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949


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14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001