International Day of the Boy Child is celebrated today and the Primestars project actively works to empower boys to be better men.


South Africa (16 May 2024) – International Day of the Boy Child, observed on May 16th, is a stark reminder of the challenges our young men face because of toxic notions of masculinity. A focus on the mental well-being of young men and boys has become a justifiable focus in the fight against gender-based violence.

In 2022, youth development expert Primestars – along with public, private and civil partners – launched a first-of-its-kind GBV-preventative programme titled What About The Boys? aimed at redefining masculinity. The programme targets high school boys from under-resourced communities across the country and implementation features a movie and curriculum content in the form of a “Good Men’s Guide”, which is further entrenched via hands-on elements such as mentorship.

Utilising a unique cinema education model and the mentorship programme to work through course content, What About the Boys? encourages boys to share their emotions in a healthy way, resist gender stereotypes and speak out against bullying and inequality.

Impact reports of the project found that boys who had participated in the process were challenged to interrogate their often-dangerous perceptions about women and sex, and outdated notions of what it means to be a powerful man. This year’s programme intends to build on these learnings, finding new and impactful ways of shifting behaviour.

Post-assessment data illustrates the various challenges faced by young men such as:

  • Lack of a positive male role model.
  • Anger issues and a lack of the skills and knowledge to manage such triggers.
  • Misunderstanding of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Misconception on the role and respect of the women in their lives (sister/mother/gf etc)

Evaluation of the boys that have been through the programme and mentorship sessions shows enhanced behavioural and attitude changes.

“International Day of the Boy Child highlights the importance of educating boys on the principles of respect, empathy and equity. By redefining masculinity, we empower them to be active allies in the fight against gender-based violence, paving the way for a safer and more equitable South Africa. Let us raise a nation of good men, good fathers, good partners, good colleagues, good leaders and good citizens, who as Maya Angelou said ‘do the best they can until they know better. Then when they know better …… DO BETTER’,” says Martin Sweet, Managing Director of Primestars.

“International Day of the Boy Child reaffirms our commitment to empowering boys towards more positive notions of masculinity. It is a powerful recognition that a critical aspect in the mission to end gender-based violence is founded on fostering a generation who stand against it. Our boys are not just the leaders of tomorrow but the allies we need today!” adds Nkosinathi Moshoana, Chief Operating Officer of Primestars.

Sources: Primestars – Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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