Mugota: SARSYC`s New Entry
SAYWHAT and partnership with the University of Zambia is hosting the 3rd edition of the Southern African Conference on SRH at Cresta Golf View, Lusaka, Zambia. The 3rd edition of the mega-regional event is running under the theme Plan, Prioritise, Prevent. Of significance is the participation of Mugota/Ixhiba Young Men`s forum representative for the first time since the inaugural SARSYC 2015. The participation of the Mugota/Ixhiba representatives signifies a new era of male student’s activism in the region. Historically young men have been vilified as perpetrators and perpetuators of negative masculinity and harmful cultural practices that treat women and girls as second class citizens.
Mugota`s presence in Lusaka gives birth to a generation of young men who have intentionally made a choice to change the narrative. The idea of Mugota/Ixhiba was born in Zimbabwe`s institutions of higher learning borrowing the name Mugota/Ixhiba meaning the traditional hut where males would sleep. Mugota is symbolic in shaping the behaviours and the practice of responsibility by young men. In the Mugota/Ixhiba young men had to learn the ropes of interacting with their environments including the enforcement of behaviours, perceptions and their general world view. Presumably this is one space with a great influence on the character of men we see in the streets as, husbands, leaders and captains of industry. Literally, almost every men can trace certain traits to the upbringing and grooming at a tender age, most of it which happened in the Mugota/Ixhiba. To ascertain this, there are Shona and Ndebele proverbs which are summaries of wisdom showing the interlinkages between the adult men and the boy groomed in the Mugota/Ixhiba. The popular Shona proverb “Gavi rinobva kumasvuiriro” which is similar to a sister proverb in Ndebele “Is`gogo sgoqwa sisemanzi”.
In both proverbs there is the cultural emphasis of shaping and modelling intended future qualities in the early life of the final product. Coincidentally early life for young men in the cultural context has one common feature which is the Gota/Ixhiba an exclusive place for boys. You can literally marry this cultural phenomenon with the modern approach of peer education where knowledge is systematically delivered to members of the same grouping, age, socialisation, profession and all other variable identifiers which bring commonality and similarity.
Amongst boys and young men, the Mugota /Ixhiba model recruits and selects champions to influence from within. The selected champions go through rigorous trainings, grooming and mentoring to infuse desired progressive and responsible qualities which among other things refrain from detects of patriarchy, male chauvinism and gender stereotyping.
To date the Mugota/Ixhiba model in Zimbabwe has recruited and trained more than 250 male students. This co-group of committed and dedicated young men represent the core of Mugota/Ixhiba in Zimbabwe. They are distributed across the 10 provinces and have signed up to roll out the popular ONE GUY CAMPAIGN. Their message is simple but life changing; they envisage communities with just ONE GUY who is RESPONSIBLE, NON-VIOLENT AND PRO EQUITY. The Mugota/Ixhiba`s mandate is to concientise and convince at least just ONE GUY at a time. This is the sole mission of Mugota/Ixhiba representatives to the 3rd edition of SARSYC in Lusaka, Zambia.