CAPE TOWN – EFF leader Julius Malema has challenged South African men who are against the hashtag #MenAreTrash to change their behaviour and start protecting women.
Speaking at an Africa Day celebration concert in Joubert Park in Johannesburg on Thursday, Malema said the man accused of killing 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena had misrepresented South African men.
He said instead of fighting the hashtag, which gained traction on social media following public outcry after Mokoena’s death, men should rather take collective responsibility for the manner in which women, children and the elderly were treated in society.
“All of us take collective responsibility. South African men are trash, that’s who we are and if we don’t want to be called that then let us change our behaviour, let us change our conduct.
“Karabo’s death must serve as a wake-up call not to a girl child but to a male. Stop your behaviour,” Malema said.
He told the hundreds gathered at the park that they could not expect to be respected by “a white man” if they did not respect their own women.
“Why would a white man respect you when you don’t respect women? When you see women you see an object you can just attack any time you want, you can use it for anything you want, you don’t see a fellow human being,” Malema said.
When African men saw a woman they did not see another human being, instead they saw a tool to be used in the bedroom for their satisfaction. This behaviour had gone to the extent that these men were now attacking children and elderly women, he said.
“It starts with you, you must have self-respect. You must differentiate between kids, women and grannies.”
There was no excuse to kill a woman, even if a man had spent money on her, he added.
“It doesn’t matter whether you bought them food, whether you bought them expensive bags, ‘uwaphapha (you are forward)’ you chose to do those things. She never put a gun to your head and forced you to buy those things you bought for her, you did it voluntarily.”
He said those men who respected women and knew their place in society should know that the hashtag was not meant for them, but that as long as there were still “rascals” causing a mess, the hashtag would remain.
“You must know that everything else you do, you represent men, you represent all of us.”
He urged all men who had done hurtful things to the women in their lives, to apologise to them and promise to do better.
“It starts here, go and change. Reason it out with your partner. Don’t pull her, don’t beat her up. If you love your mother, you will love the next woman. If you respect your mother, you will respect the next woman.
“Let’s go and apologise to our women and tell them that we are going to be their protectors, we are going to be the providers of our families, we will not cause pain to loved ones. We will protect them,” Malema said.
PHOTO: © Mpho Raborife, News24 EFF leader Julius Malema addressed hundreds gathered at Joubert Park in central Johannesburg for Africa Day. (Mpho Raborife, News24)