BOYS ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION ON DRUGS AND GBV HITS SEDIBENG REGION

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By Madali Chibambu 

  • The Department convened a roundtable discussion for Grade 9 and 10 male learners to tackle gender-based violence at JC Knoetze Community Hall.
  • Officials from various government departments, including Education, Health, COGTA, and MIET AFRICA, engaged learners on GBV, substance abuse, bullying, and health care services.
  • The discussion aimed to empower boys to combat GBV and substance abuse, promoting the establishment of Boys’ Forums in schools for broader engagement and support.

Recently, the Department hosted a roundtable discussion, targeting Grade 9 and 10 male learners from local high schools at JC Knoetze Community Hall. The aim was to impart knowledge to boys on how to address gender-based violence (GBV).

The programme is implemented in schools and aims to raise awareness about the impact of violence on all vulnerable groups. Boys from various schools in Sedibeng attended a roundtable discussion where they were addressed by officials from different government departments, including Education, Health, COGTA, and the Non-Profit Organisation MIET AFRICA.

Subjects covered included gender-based violence, substance abuse, bullying, and health care services.

Khumo Kgomoeswana, the Social Worker Manager at the Gauteng Department of Social Development, highlighted that the discussion also aimed to encourage boys to become agents of change in addressing issues related to gender-based violence.

She indicated that bullying incidences have been identified in schools and have escalated to gender-based violence, studies have shown that children growing up with violence are more likely to become perpetrators of violence in the future.

“In Sedibeng, a drug called Crystal is a problem, and as a Gauteng Department of Social Development, we are willing to work with the community to fight substance abuse.   With the number of learners here today, we are going to establish Boy’s Forum. From each school, we are going to nominate representatives,” says Kgomoeswana.

“All the representatives will be part of the main national forum where they will engage with learners from other schools,” she added.

Sipinare Mofokeng from the COGTA said his role on the day was to talk to boys and encourage them not to jump stages of life.

“We have different cultures, and some boys go to initiation schools to learn and understand tradition whereas some start drinking and smoking at an early age. These days, boys start taking drugs from a young age, and they disrespect elders,” said Mofokeng. 

“If you don’t listen and respect elders, you will end up washing cars, even in wintertime to buy yourself food,” added Mofokeng.

Grade 9 learner Tebogo Maepa expressed how beneficial the discussion had been for him, stating his intention to encourage fellow learners to establish a boys’ forum at their school.

“Our forum is going to grow big, I will make sure that we target local churches and even boys who are taking drugs to change and become better people in their families and communities,” said Maepa.

There were breakaway commissions where each group had to discuss substance abuse and gender-based violence and present a report to the meeting.

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