'Men need to confront their own conditioning' - gender activist

Mmatshilo Motsei wears many hats - she's known as an author, poet, African spiritual leader and also over many decades, as a gender activist who's made a difference in South Africa.

On Weekend Breakfast with Refiloe Mpankanyane, Motsei reflects on her understanding that talking to men is an important part of addressing gender-based violence.

RELATED: Why now is the time for gender transformation to take centre stage

She says she started doing this work in Alexandra in the 90s, probably motivated by the experience of being raised by a father who was "a wonderful man".

I grew up as a girl knowing that I'm loved and he has also encouraged me to fly out of my nest.

Mmatshilo Motsei, Gender activist

My father insisted that the girls go to school. He was in a way preparing us to carry our power as women.

Mmatshilo Motsei, Gender activist

Motsei says this started her thinking that just as one part of the problem is working with men, so one part of the solution is also working with men.

She believes the first step in the process is for men to confront their own conditioning.

All the messages you have been taught as a man are basically about your privilege and in a sense it's all about power over...

Mmatshilo Motsei, Gender activist

One of the questions we asked men we invited to work with us was: When last did you beat up a woman? A lot of them were shocked.

Mmatshilo Motsei, Gender activist

Feminists say the personal is political. We asked the question so that right from the beginning they knew if you want to be working in this space, you need to change yourself from inside.

Mmatshilo Motsei, Gender activist

Listen to the insightful discussion on Weekend Breakfast with Refiloe Mpakanyane:


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