Every year, Kingswood College honours the life of Uyinene Mrwetyana, an old Kingswoodian (OK’ 2018) who lost her life far too soon to gender-based violence. The vision of the event is to celebrate her life and to take the time to stop, pause and reflect on who Uyinene was and the legacy she has left behind.
Even though the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation was born out of tragedy, the Foundation serves as a vehicle to champion those who find themselves voiceless and provides a platform from which individuals can feel safe to speak out, to stand up to and to hopefully make meaningful changes to society.
This year marks the third anniversary of this event, and Kingswood College had the privilege, to welcome Mr Anele Siswana, Clinical Psychologist as the guest speaker for this year’s lecture.
The theme for this year’s lecture is in keeping with the 2023 Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation’s focus on the mental health of boys’ and young men in developing responsible citizens. The title of Mr Siswana’s talk was “Developing the boy child to be a responsible man: Your mental health matters”.
His lecture focused around the mental health and well-being of the “boy child” and what that reimagining could mean for our society:
“I was once a boy child, [and given the opportunity I would ask] myself what would be his [Anele’s] greatest wish?”
Mr Siswana went on to explore this theme throughout his talk speaking of how he wished he had been raised in such a way that he could practice self-love, to be taught gentleness, kindness, compassion and empathy and that masculinity and what it means to be a man is but a social construct. That manhood is a choice that one makes.
He highlighted the need for young men to be educated that “being a man” is not using one’s privilege to exert power on or to dominate other men, and that one’s power is not only linked to one’s physical strength.
Mr Siswana called upon educators, pupils and the wider community to rethink the way in which boys are taught to ‘be boys’, and what that really looks like. He emphasized the importance of creating spaces where it is okay for a boy or young man to be vulnerable and that it is vitally important that as a society we create “additional and particularly progressive models of masculinity”.
Mr Siswana went on to say, “We need a holistic and systemic framework of liberating masculinities. For us to fight against gender-based violence we need to work with the psyche of men. We need restoration and a rehabilitation of the mind”.
The Foundation has chosen to focus their efforts for the 2023 year around the education, and upliftment of young men and how they can be the catalysts in changing the narrative around gender-based violence.
Kingswood College and the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation once again affirmed their commitment, to continue to partner together and where possible work collaboratively in order to educate pupils and the broader community on gender-based violence, and how to challenge the status quo in such a way that helps bring meaningful change to society.