Although not widely publicised and perhaps not as celebrated, there is a day set apart solely to celebrate men. International Men’s Day (IMD) was founded in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago and unlike the global day for women; which was originally launched to call for better pay rights for females IMD is all about promoting awareness of male health, discrimination and gender relations.
Since being founded, the day has gone on to garner support from individuals and social groups across the globe, and is now celebrated each year in November in over 70 countries of the world. Although IMD is commemorated on 19 November each year- Botswana commemorated it on Friday at the Serowe Sports Complex under the theme “Celebrating men and boys in all their diversity.”
The theme sought to encourage individuals, organizations, and institutions throughout to engage in solutions-based dialogues that create pathways for designing, implementing, and supporting initiatives which recognize the diversity of Men and Boys – particularly their experiences which are shaped, in part, as an example, by socio-economic status, ethnic and religious bias, language, and culture. Government officially endorsed and adopted the commemoration of International Men’s Day in 2013.
But why do people not care about IMD at all?
Earlier this year, while gearing up for International Women’s Day (IWD); social media was abuzz with the hash tag #BeBoldForChange, which was the campaign theme for IWD 2017. Seemingly, in the past recent years, there was a lot of involvement and enough noise on social media and public forums about IWD.
But the case is not the same for IMD. It is as if men do not deserve to have a day set apart solely for them-and this is not an issue confined to Botswana alone. Debate has raged for the longest time with some calling for the day to be boycotted with the all too popular riposte “ Every day is Men’s day” ever being thrown around. Some sections of society have also over the years argued that gender equality was skewed more to the favour of girls and women-and in that process men and boys had been left behind.
Why should we care?
According to the official website, 'objectives of International Men's Day include a focus on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. “It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions – in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.”
The day coincides with month-long event Movember, which encourages men to grow moustaches to raise awareness of men's health charities. Men's Day is an opportunity for people to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all. It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.
Methods of commemorating International Men's Day have included public seminars, conferences, festivals and fundraisers, classroom activities at schools, radio and television programs, Church observances, and peaceful displays and marches.' Further, there are a slew of issues facing men today which the world must work to address, including domestic violence.
Men are also faced with societal pressures to be strong, dominant and powerful; financial providers. But in recent times, and amid realities of poverty and unemployment, many young men experience feelings of disempowerment and frustration. Perhaps it is time we all own up and acknowledge that recognising issues facing men today does not undermine those facing women.
IMD and Botswana
IMD was inaugurated in Botswana in 2011 by coordinator. One of the International Men's Day themes promoted was to help foster youth to unlock their creative identities to allow them to share their gifts with peers, family and the community, and to be seen and heard for who they are and not how they are perceived.
The primary event was a gala dinner titled "One moment for Change" to highlight men's potential and the increasing capabilities of men as innovators of society. The dinner was held to raise funds to cover six months music tuition fees for a group of 20 children from the SOS Children's Village whom IMD ambassadors adopted as part of a mentoring programme for children. The day has since been commemorated in Francistown and in Manyana last year.
Objectives of IMD
To promote positive male role models To celebrate men’s positive contributions; to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritualâ€¨To highlight discrimination against males; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law To improve gender relations and promote gender equality To create a safer, better world, where all people can grow and reach their full potential.
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.
The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.
Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.
Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)
Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.
“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”
For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”
“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.
Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.
“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.
When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.