Behold the SA Men Awards, where we celebrate men for not being trash during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. And nominate a homophobic and misogynistic preacher as Man of the Year.
Every year, for 16 days from November 25 to December 10 the government endorses a campaign to end violence against women and children. The SA Men Awards are designed to encourage men to be active citizens against gender-based violence in the country, according to chairperson Bongani Ngomane. “Not all men are abusers, not all men are violent. Those that are good men, those that are not abusing – let us mobilise them so they can graduate to be great men,” he said.
The awards are part of an incentive to keep men good and to ensure that young boys have positive male role models and to show that not all men are trash. According to Ngomane, a good man respects women, protects women and does good for the country.
— #CelebratingSAMen (@samenawards) November 25, 2017
According to the SA Men Awards Facebook page, the event seeks to “recognise and honour South African Men of statue (sic).”
It is an initiative of the Men’s Forum launched by the department of social development in partnership with other South African NGOs. The forum aims to motivate, assist and inspire men to be change agents in their communities and build a society free from fear.
The event has been running since 2015. Its website says the first awards ceremony “was a great success, attracting enormous public participation which yielded more than 400 000 votes via the SMS voting system.”
This year’s event was staged at Carnival City Casino in Brakpan on Wednesday evening under the theme “Transforming SA Men”. For a price of R100-R500, attendees could don their formal garb and “honour male individuals making a difference in their communities”, and for not being trash.
— #CelebratingSAMen (@samenawards) November 23, 2017
It is true that men need to be fully involved in the fight for the eradication of gender-based violence, but will enticing men with a hand-made trophy at an awards ceremony encourage them not to abuse and rape women? Doubtful.
Finalists for the men of the year award are nominated through SMS, then asked to submit profiles and projects that they have been involved in. They go through police clearance and are finally chosen by an independent judge.
Some of the finalists for the award in 2017 included poet and activist Don Mattera, businessman Matthews Mogafe and peacher Angus Buchan.
— #CelebratingSAMen (@samenawards) November 24, 2017
Charismatic evangelist Angus Buchan or “Oom Angus” as his followers fondly refer to him is as problematic as they come. Buchan drew thousands in Bloemfontein earlier this year in a gathering called It’s Time where he prayed about saving South Africa. Buchan, whose support base is traditionally white and male, said we needed a Christian government, a “God-fearing state” and “Jesus-fearing parliament.” Buchan has said in the past that Christians “joining hands with Islam and with Buddhism and Hinduism” amounts to “an abomination to God”.
But it doesn’t stop there. He has drawn his support from his Mighty Men gatherings, which are camps for men to “restore masculinity”. Buchan believes in what he deems roles for men and women as God intended. He believes women who do not submit to their husbands “are going against the Word of God”. In 2004, he wrote: “It is very hard for a husband to love his wife when she insists on wearing the trousers and refusing to submit. The children become traumatised when the wife belittles the so-called head of the house, or he beats up his wife because she will not submit.”
Buchan is also homophobic and queerphobic. He has been quoted as saying, “I cannot ever agree that homosexuality is right. I love them though, but they need help. We have prayed for them and God has changed their hearts.” In 2008 he argued that praying over a queer individual can “change them.” Buchan was banned from preaching at venues in Scotland in 2016 because of his belief that homosexuality can be cured with prayer. Buchan also told Carte Blanche in 2008: “You can’t sleep with your girlfriend before marriage, and abortion is legalised murder. Homosexuality is against the word of God.”
Many of Buchan’s views are blatantly unconstitutional. He does not sound like someone we should be endorsing as SA Man of the Year. But that’s none of our business.
“We nominated Baba Angus for his positive role in social transformation in the country and his role in men’s movement through Mighty Men Conferences,” Ngomane told The Daily Vox. “We consider him a positive male role model in South Africa as his message is always about nation building, peace in the country and community development.” Ngomane further said, “it is our view that he is an asset to the country that needs to be celebrated and encouraged to continue working for better South Africa. We do not consider him to be advocating for oppression or discrimination of any social group in the country,” he said.
Not that it’s much of a consolation but Buchan did not win in his category. The award for Man of the Year went to Matthews Mogafe. Looks like voters weren’t buying Buchan’s bigotry either.