The global #HeForShe movement has had one very particular spin-off in South Africa - tavern owners in North West, with the support of United Nations Women and the Catholic Church, are addressing the scourge of gender-based violence with their patrons and communities in general.
On Weekend Breakfast, HeForShe Taverns project ambassador Joe Mashilo tells Refiloe Mpakanyane how the community felt the need to initiate conversations with men about engaging with women without being abusive.
Taverns presented an appropriate space for the work to start he says, as they are male-dominated and alcohol is a factor in much of the violent crime in the country.
We said because taverns are being painted as negative, how can we create a platform where we can develop different ways of thinking to say that taverns can actually be places of change.— Joe Mashilo, HeForShe Taverns project ambassador
So how do they achieve this? Mashilo explains that they initiate dialogues, with the community deciding on the topic for the day.
They themselves decide on a topic, for instance they will decide on whether alcohol is an excuse for violence.— Joe Mashilo, HeForShe Taverns project ambassador
We want these topics to translate into action to the point where men are standing up and doing something about it.— Joe Mashilo, HeForShe Taverns project ambassador
The movement fosters a culture of accountability, getting feedback not only from the patrons themselves, but also from spouses and other family members about positive changes in behaviour.
Through these community dialogues we have experienced significant change in the behaviour of men.— Joe Mashilo, HeForShe Taverns project ambassador
We've seen them standing up and picketing at the courts to say 'enough is enough' when it comes to cases of rape.— Joe Mashilo, HeForShe Taverns project ambassador
He says the dialogues also serve as a sometimes life-saving outlet for men to open up and talk about their own personal problems.
For more on the HeForShe Taverns project, click on the link below: