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Partnership of UNFPA, MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Meta

The documentary, What Makes a Man, by MTV Shuga in collaboration with UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, and Meta (formerly Facebook), features Ayanda Makayi and other South African artists raising their voices to end gender-based violence.

I am worried about how I am going to raise my son.

“I am on a journey to explore what makes a man in a climate of gender-based violence. And I am worried about how I am going to raise my son,” said Ayanda Makayi.

In the first episode of the docuseries, Ayanda Makayi, actor and influencer, reflects on his upbringing and the man he has come to be. 

In the documentary series, Ayanda reflected, “We, as humans, need to re-evaluate our culture and take the good from it, and leave out the negatives that don’t seem to help in creating a healthy society.”

Launched this week, MTV Shuga in partnership with UNFPA, hope to change the narrative of gender-based violence (GBV) in East and Southern Africa. The series is a platform where young people can become staunch advocates in creating a region with zero gender-based violence.

UNFPA calls for the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination over one’s own body, and uses various strategies to achieve this, including partnerships. This collaboration can help UNFPA deliver a world where every young person's potential is fulfilled.

By watching this series - young people, gatekeepers, law enforcers, perpetrators, and adolescent girls and boys - will reflect on the stories and viewpoints of those featured in the docuseries, in the hope that it will ignite change and promote positive masculinities. 

The alarming reality of COVID-19 and GBV

What Makes a Man is a critical partnership during these challenging years of COVID-19, with the latter creating an environment where cases of GBV are rising at an alarming rate in the region. It is a call for all to become involved - women, girls, men and boys - to break this cycle once and for all, and end it. There are no excuses for violence, pandemic or not, and we need to act jointly to end this scourge,” said Renata Tallarico, UNFPA Youth Team Lead and SYP Regional Coordinator.

There are no excuses for violence, pandemic or not, and we need to act jointly to end thE scourge of GBV.

The partnership is supported by the UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Programme on empowering women and girls to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights in South Africa. It is also funded by the UNFPA regional flagship Safeguard Young People (SYP) programme implemented in 2013 in 12 countries in East and Southern Africa. The programme is a platform for the documentary that will promote its dissemination beyond South Africa to its implementing countries across the region. 

Social media sensation Uncle Vinny, aka Kabelo Vincent Ndlovu, chats to Ayanda in the first episode about how he perceives gender-based violence.

While the documentary reflects the reality of South Africa, its message will resonate across countries and continents, as GBV is a global phenomenon. 

“GBV affects every category of people without discrimination and needs to be tackled at individual, societal and environmental levels. In other words, the fight against GBV does not exclude anybody. We are all in it together,” added Ms. Tallarico.

In seven countries in the East and Southern Africa region, about 20 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 years reported that they had experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner. Sexual violence against early adolescents aged 15 years and below is highest in the conflict and post-conflict countries of the DRC, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Women and girls with disabilities are estimated to be up to 10 times more likely to experience sexual violence, with a range of 40 to 68 per cent of girls with disabilities below 18 experiencing sexual violence. Fewer than 10 per cent of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 who experienced forced sex asked for professional help, due to fear, stigma, discrimination and a lack of services. 

The inspirational and thought-provoking episodes of the docuseries MTV Shuga: What Makes a Man was premiered exclusively on MTV Base (DSTV Channel 322) on March 1.