By Precious Mupenzi

  • The Empowamen Summit in Johannesburg aimed to include men in dialogues for societal improvement, challenging the narrative that labels men as the problem rather than contributors.
  • Veteran broadcaster Thabo “Tbose” Mokwele led a masterclass on fatherhood dynamics, urging attendees to surpass the previous generation and break cycles of pain.
  • Mokwele’s session, based on Pia Mellody’s Birth Rights model, highlighted the significance of nurturing environments in shaping individuals’ psychological well-being and stressed the need to reevaluate parenting approaches, particularly towards sons, for building stronger, more inclusive communities.

The Empowamen Summit held in Johannesburg recently saw diverse voices and perspectives exploring the crucial role of men in building better communities. Veteran broadcaster Thabo “Tbose” Mokwele led a masterclass focusing on the overlooked dynamics of fatherhood and its profound impact on shaping the character of young boys.

“Do better than your father, because with each generation, we must raise the bar for the next. That’s the only way to break the cycle. Sometimes, we carry the pain from our past or our upbringing, or the lack of certain things, and we cling to it, letting it become our pain. But we forget that what happened to us, happened for us. We can use that as a formula to raise a better generation, to heal the wounds of the past for the next. The question is: Are you doing better than your father?”

Mokwele’s masterclass focused on the Clinical Psychology Model by Pia Mellody’s Birth Rights and provided a foundational framework for understanding the long-lasting effects of early childhood experiences on adult psychological well-being. 

This model emphasises the inherent rights individuals possess from birth and underscores the significance of nurturing environments and secure attachments in shaping one’s sense of self and relationships. By delving into the interplay between early relational dynamics and present-day behaviour, Mellody’s model offers a pathway towards healing and personal growth, ultimately empowering individuals to reclaim their birthright to a fulfilling and authentic life.

The co-founder of EmpowaMen, Sechaba Motsieloa, explained that it was important to include men in all dialogues that help make society better, adding that men have become labelled as the problem in society and not as people who can contribute.

“We have created that safe space here for men to speak out without fear of being cancelled by society, but also one where they cannot get away with toxic views. To mitigate this, we have different organisations that can help provide different angles to issues,” he said.

One of the delegates, Ntokozo Masango (35), from Centurion, said that the key takeaway from the summit was to relook the way we raise and nurture our children, particularly our sons, because that has profound implications for the future of our communities.

“By recognising and addressing societal norms that perpetuate unequal treatment based on gender, we can create environments that allow all children to thrive emotionally, socially, and psychologically. We were encouraged as fathers to play active roles in building stronger, more inclusive communities for generations to come,” said Masango, a father of two boys.


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