On 4, 6 and 8 October, Mandown, a special project that deals with issues of male mental health, sexuality and GBV at the University of Pretoria, held their annual seminar where they discuss key societal issues. The seminar takes place in the form of discussions between influential men, women and students on topics that could be considered controversial. This year’s theme was, “It’s cool to care” and took place over Zoom and was streamed on Instagram.

On Monday, 4 October, the topic of discussion was victim silencing in the context of family, culture and values. It featured guest speakers Philenda Dlamini and Tinyiko Nkuna. Day 2, 6 October, dealt with cyberbullying as a new violence, with Emihle Majikija, Comfort Ayelomi and Nothando Ngubeni making guest appearances. On the final day, 8 October, the topic of manhoodwas explored with guest speakers Prof. Sokudela, Masilu Moshabela and Chairman Collins-Mckinnelle.

These issues were chosen because they are often overlooked for more sensationalist issues. “The whole point of the series is to create an environment where all students feel welcome, however we live in a complex society that faces complex issues that should be dealt with in an open space”, says Tarik Lalla, a member of the Mandown administration.

While this was a discussion between influential people, the discussion was open before and after the session for the public to ask questions and participate in the discussion, so as not to create a closed off space. Although no definitive conclusions were reached during these discussions, many agreed that at least a start has been made to have these conversations in open spaces. More information can be found on the Mandown Instagram page.

News reporter at | katherine@pdby.co.za | view posts

My name is Katherine Weber and I am currently a 2nd year BA student majoring in English and History. I enjoy writing short stories and drawing. I want to work in publishing one day because I love reading all types of books.