Desmond Tafadzwa Lungah, The University of California, Berkeley

September 10, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs

Dr. Ruta Shah-Gordon: Now we
will hear from Desmond Lungah from the University of California,
Berkeley. [Cheers and Applause] [Chanting “Go Bears! Go Bears!”] Desmond Tafadzwa Lungah:
Go Bears! Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much. Like she already said,
my name is Desmond Lungah. I’m from Botswana. Is Botswana in the
house? Botswana. [Cheers] And I also come from UC Berkeley,
the golden school of Public Policy which is the number one public
policy school in the world. [Cheers] So it is such an honor. When I was chosen, my Fellows said
I should talk about the different issues that they represent
and I have five minutes. I can’t talk about climate change, I
can’t talk about transgender, I can’t talk about gays and lesbian, I cannot
talk about — there’s a lot of things. Sanitation. But what I can talk about is the
people that have the power to change those policies and that
behavior which — [Applause] Which are the men that sit in
our Parliament, the men that sit in our Council and of course,
the boys that run in our streets. And I believe for us to be able
to change the world we need to re-socialize the boy child. I will take you on a journey,
a simple journey that shows you how a boy child is raised. I will buy my boy child a toy car
and he spends the whole day going vroom, vroom, doosh, doosh. And then I will buy my daughter a doll. And sometimes it’s a white doll. I’m not going to go there. A doll and she will spend the day
playing with that doll and saying: Hello Nanna, how are you? Do you want food? Can I cook for you? And then later on we have a woman
who talks more and a man who does not talk and we say why is that, because
we have socialized them differently. It’s important for us to look
at how we raise our boy children. And back at home there is a saying
that says [speaking foreign language] if you are a boy, if you fall your
mother or father will tell you, you are a soldier. You
are not supposed to cry. So you are taught not to cry and
you grow up and you face your mother dies, your sister dies and your
sister is raped, all these things and you are still not allowed to cry
and you are supposed to be a man. Are you made out of
iron? Are you not human? It’s very important for us to
understand that men are human and to allow our kids to cry and to be able
to engage in dialogue with our kids at an early age. It’s important also for us, for me as
a man to be able to teach my daughter what a good man is and how a good man
treats a woman by treating my wife. It’s a good way for me to teach my
son how a woman is supposed to be treated by the way I treat my wife now. And it’s important for us to realize
that as a collective, as society we have the strength to change that. When a man has multiple concurrent
partners, he’s called a what? [off mic responses shouted
from audience] A player. And a woman has multiple concurrent
partners she is called a what? [off mic responses
shouted from audience] I don’t want to go there, but it’s sad. It shows you how society shuns
negative and tries and grooms a woman more and leaves the boy to go out,
play without a shed (ph), go out, come late, it’s okay
because they are a boy. You are not taught how to
take care of your health. The boy child cannot go into the
bathroom when the father is bathing. The girl child can go into the
bathroom when the mother is bathing. What does that tell you? It shows that we are not doing enough
in terms of how to socialize our kids, but how can we be able to do that? Men need to start being
allowed to show emotion. Be allowed to cry. When she talked I felt
it. I dropped a tear. So it’s important for us to
be able to express ourselves. It’s important for you as a community
to say we need to take action. In Botswana we have grown a movement of men
that say we want to be part of the change. We want to be part of that generation
that is going to change and I’m here today to say throughout Africa
let’s join that movement. Let’s be able to say we want to
change the way we socialize our men so that they can sit at tables and be
able to understand the pressures, the rape that they do, the different
negativity behaviors that they do to women and how it affects
women. [Cheers and Applause] So in conclusion I will
say because of you we can be able to change that. It’s not about me. But it’s about you. It’s about you going back and living
the lives and being able to engage through media, through the different
platforms that you meet people, that you engage people, through your
child, through you saying as a man what am I doing to be able to
change the next generation of men. So it’s either you are going to
be part of the solution or you are going to be the change
that you want to see. So thank you very much for
that. [Cheers and Applause]