‘Spiderman’ tackles gender based violence

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Football legend Brian Baloyi has added his voice to growing calls condemning the scourge of gender based violence in South Africa.

Baloyi, who captained Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns in his heyday, says there’s no excuse for men to be violent against society’s most vulnerable – women, children and the elderly.

Speaking during a Men Against GBV conference, under the banner of Men2Men Chat organized by Ti’ 425 on Saturday evening, Baloyi told over 60 men, who joined the session via Zoom, that growing up in a violent home was no excuse to continue violence.

“I keep saying to men that sometime we use these things as an excuse that I grew up seeing this violence that’s why I am doing it,” said Baloyi.

The former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, who hails from Alexandra, revealed his family’s experience with violence, perpetrated by his father, which led to him making a vow to become a better man.

“With me, the difference is, when I looked at myself as a young man I made a vow that I will never raise a hand to a woman. I can tell you that to this day, I have never raised a hand to a woman. From when we started dating in the township, you would see people beat up girls and I have never done that. That’s the vow I made,” said the man fondly known as Spiderman.

“I will never want to be like that man because I know the pain. Not only the pain that I had suffered but the pain that my mom suffered. I never wanted to see another woman go through that pain.”

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of gender based violence cases prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare it a pandemic. Baloyi is of the view that society needs to make concerted efforts, through teaching, to curb the scourge of gender based violence.

“For me when it comes to men and boys, it’s not about having to teach them not to raise their hands on a woman. For me, it’s not to be violent at all. If we say don’t raise a hand to a woman, it means we are saying you can be violent to one another,” said the multi-PSL championship winning player.

“Our generation, we have to make a stand and say what kind of world we want our kids to live in. Are we just going to live like this and let it rot and become worse or do we want to fix it?  For me, I want to see us coming with solutions. How do we deal with the problem of these men that are going out and killing our sisters, mothers and our grandparents? We need to come up with solutions and act on them.”

Baloyi, who was South Africa’s number one at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1998, usually gives talks in a quest to inspire people to do better. He often draws from lessons learnt during his football career spanning close two decades.

By Hosea Ramphekwa

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