Project Description

Intro CONVER-
SATIONS
I will respect every woman in my community, take responsibility for my actions and not blame alcohol. JULY 2019 - DATE
22 MENTORS
1350 CONVERSATIONS
2355 MEN
ALEX
MENTOR
- Sibongile Sele

THE ALEX CHAMPION CONVERSATIONS HAS BEEN A STAND-OUT SUCCESS STORY.

10 mentors from Alex were selected and taken through a 3-day, 2-night training programme to equip them to facilitate conversations with groups of men from their communities.

The training took place in June and in the first week of July the 10 mentors started recruiting and running conversations with the men of Alex. Getting men to come to the conversations was initially a challenge but once the mentors succeeded in getting groups of men together, they were pleasantly surprised at the eagerness with which the men embraced the opportunity to share with other men. Common feedback from participants was that men don’t have the platform and social permission to talk amongst themselves in the way that this programme allowed them to.

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The mentors used stories of their own struggles and challenges to inspire and create a safe space for participants to open up about their lives.

Participants began to express excitement and gratitude at finally having a platform not only to share their challenges but also receive knowledge and support to help them grow as men.

The mentors responded to the needs and preferences of their groups by mixing up the structure a bit. Some groups went through the sessions daily instead of weekly, other groups were merged into one and facilitated by more than 1 mentor. The important thing was that each group covered the material and provided the platform for every member of the group to speak and share their stories.

The mentors used stories of their own struggles and challenges to inspire and create a safe space for participants to open up about their lives.

Participants began to express excitement and gratitude at finally having a platform not only to share their challenges but also receive knowledge and support to help them grow as men.

The mentors responded to the needs and preferences of their groups by mixing up the structure a bit. Some groups went through the sessions daily instead of weekly, other groups were merged into one and facilitated by more than 1 mentor. The important thing was that each group covered the material and provided the platform for every member of the group to speak and share their stories.

Men started growing more comfortable with sharing their life struggles.

Some shared about their own struggles with abuse – both as the victim and the perpetrator. One particularly chilling testimony came from a man who had been working as a hitman. He told of how he had never wanted to be like that when he was growing up, but circumstances forced him to. He grew up without a father and ended up in the wrong crowd before quitting school at a young age and joining a gang. He later got involved with a gang of hitmen and explained that at first it was very difficult taking someone’s life but that it became easier. He shared how he desperately wants to get out of this life but is too scared as if the gang heard that he wanted out, he would be killed in a matter of hours.

“I will always take action against any form of abuse I see. I will not be silent.”

– Celeste Baloyi

I will always take action against any form of abuse I see. I will not be silent.

– Celeste Baloyi

As more men opened up it became increasingly apparent that most men are feeling unheard, under-valued and “bashed” by society.

It also became very obvious that most of the men in the groups have grown up without being taught by older, trusted men about what it means to be a man.

The conversations took place wherever the men could find place to gather – on street corners, in homes, hostel rooms, taverns and sports fields. The content of the conversations was based on the “#NoExcuse ” and “6 Pack of Champion Virtues” booklets. Meeting times and days varied from morning to evening and weekdays to weekends. At each of the sessions, participants were provided with a cooldrink and at the conclusion of the 6 conversations each participant received a #NoExcuse  T-shirt.

At each of the sessions, participants are provided with a cooldrink and at the conclusion of the 6 conversations each participant receives a #NoExcuse T-shirt.

As more men opened up it became increasingly apparent that most men are feeling unheard, under-valued and “bashed” by society.

It also became very obvious that most of the men in the groups have grown up without being taught by older, trusted men about what it means to be a man.

The conversations took place wherever the men could find place to gather – on street corners, in homes, hostel rooms, taverns and sports fields. The content of the conversations was based on the “#NoExcuse ” and “6 Pack of Champion Virtues” booklets. Meeting times and days varied from morning to evening and weekdays to weekends. At each of the sessions, participants were provided with a cooldrink and at the conclusion of the 6 conversations each participant received a #NoExcuse  T-shirt.

At each of the sessions, participants are provided with a cooldrink and at the conclusion of the 6 conversations each participant receives a #NoExcuse T-shirt.

The Champion Conversations have been running over a 7-month period (July 2019 to Date) divided into cycles of 6 weeks each.

For 2019, each of the 10 mentors was tasked with recruiting 50 men per cycle and facilitating 6 conversations with them in groups of 10 or more. The goal was a total of 1,500 men – 10 mentors times 50 men times 3 cycles.They exceeded this target and at the end of a 5-month period had taken 1,755 men through the 6 conversations.

The work of the ten mentors has caught the attention of the people of Alex and many women have come forward and thanked them for what they are doing. Several have expressed the conviction that this initiative would be a core factor in the fight against the abuse of women and children and would go a long way towards building men that would be able to heal and shape our nation. The result of all this attention has been invitations from all over Alex to give talks to men and boys. The mentors have also been given a slot on Alex FM to promote the #NoExcuse movement as people really believe it will bring about change in Alex.

Let the conversations continue!

The Champion Conversations have been running over a 7-month period (July 2019 to Date) divided into cycles of 6 weeks each.

For 2019, each of the 10 mentors was tasked with recruiting 50 men per cycle and facilitating 6 conversations with them in groups of 10 or more. The goal was a total of 1,500 men – 10 mentors times 50 men times 3 cycles.They exceeded this target and at the end of a 5-month period had taken 1,755 men through the 6 conversations.

The work of the ten mentors has caught the attention of the people of Alex and many women have come forward and thanked them for what they are doing. Several have expressed the conviction that this initiative would be a core factor in the fight against the abuse of women and children and would go a long way towards building men that would be able to heal and shape our nation. The result of all this attention has been invitations from all over Alex to give talks to men and boys. The mentors have also been given a slot on Alex FM to promote the #NoExcuse movement as people really believe it will bring about change in Alex.

Let the conversations continue!

What I learnt:

I have been abusive with a lot of girls that I have been with and that was because I had no brothers to talk with about my problems, I have now learnt to communicate with others when I have a problem with my wife.

Sinethemba Booi

Whenever I had a fight with my woman, I was not able to communicate so I would just beat her.

Derick Mashaba

We as men need to always give each other good advice on good things, what it means to be a good man.

Sibongiseni

As a man, you have a lot of responsibility and it’s not just your family.

Mandisi Haba

We need to start being responsible, even at pubs.

Luthando Matoti

What will you change?

I will show other men that are in my community what it means to be a man and I now know how to treat my partner and children.

Sinethemba Booi

I will respect every woman in my community, take responsibility for my actions and not blame alcohol.

Sibongile Sel

I was heartless and abusive but now I will be respectful, caring and loving.

Mpho

I will lay a good foundation for my kids and I will start by being responsible.

Abel Kgarose

“I WILL CHANGE MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS WOMEN.”

Kgaugelo Ramogayane

I AM GOING TO BE A GOOD FATHER AND A MAN WITH DIGNITY.

Sibusiso Nconswane

What I learnt:

I have been abusive with a lot of girls that I have been with and that was because I had no brothers to talk with about my problems, I have now learnt to communicate with others when I have a problem with my wife.

Sinethemba Booi

Whenever I had a fight with my woman, I was not able to communicate so I would just beat her.

Derick Mashaba

We as men need to always give each other good advice on good things, what it means to be a good man.

Sibongiseni

As a man, you have a lot of responsibility and it’s not just your family.

Mandisi Haba

We need to start being responsible, even at pubs.

Luthando Matoti

What will you change?

I will show other men that are in my community what it means to be a man and I now know how to treat my partner and children.

Sinethemba Booi

I will respect every woman in my community, take responsibility for my actions and not blame alcohol.

Sibongile Sel

I was heartless and abusive but now I will be respectful, caring and loving.

Mpho

I will lay a good foundation for my kids and I will start by being responsible.

Abel Kgarose

“I WILL CHANGE MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS WOMEN.”

Kgaugelo Ramogayane

I AM GOING TO BE A GOOD FATHER AND A MAN WITH DIGNITY.

Sibusiso Nconswane

INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS