Gender Activist, Dedicated Father
Mbuyiselo Botha has been called “a lone voice
in the wilderness” for tirelessly
campaigning for gender equality. He feels passionately
that men should shoulder the
responsibility of creating a safe and
equal society for women and travels the
length and breadth of South Africa
holding workshops challenging cultural
notions about what it means to be a man.
His own upbringing was distressingly
dysfunctional in many ways - he grew up
under severely impoverished conditions
and did not know the paternity of his
own father. Today he has found some
measure of healing by striving to be a
fully attentive and loving dad to his
own children. He says that children have
an innate wisdom, and often teach us how
to “walk our talk”.
His story is a powerful lesson in
forgiving and letting go of past hurts.
Shot during the Sharpeville rent boycott
in the mid-80’s, Mbuyiselo became
partially paralysed overnight. He feels
no anger or bitterness, but says that he
chooses rather to see the incident as a
gift of life.
Mbuyiselo also talks to us about
emotional banking for healthy
relationships, laughter as the best
medicine and finding guidance and
inspiration in the popular media.
“I want my
daughters to be able to grow up in a
safe South Africa – we need to create a
violence free society for women.”