Everywhere we go we attract a lot of attention. From men and boys, but also from women and girls. The bikes are relatively unknown and in view of the engine sounds, also hard to ignore. In Zambia we visited the YWCA, one of the beneficiaries of the United Nations Secretary General’s Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
We were told that two of the main problems facing local communities were child neglect and wife battering. The reason why they reached out to men and started a Good Husband campaign. Men spoke out and told us how the campaign worked and how it focused on transforming men to become agents of change. It was very impressive to see other men so enthusiastic for our common cause! In fact we have noticed that in every country that we ride in we meet “Men Groups” and “Biker Associations”. It seems a good idea to stay in touch to reinforce each other.
In Malawi, wow, what beautiful people and what a beautiful country. We were touched by the warm welcome everywhere we went. The turnout at the Saturday morning event at the Mall was incredible. There was music, dancing, theatre and a few speeches. Wesley (Delport) spoke like the leader he is saying, “Real men don’t beat their wives and partners. Are there real men here? Can you raise your hand?”
We also met with UN Officials and the minister of Women’s Affairs. There were powerful statements made: “Quality men are not afraid of gender equality.” There was a white man who grew up in Malawi who poked fun at white people (lots of laughter). There was a brilliant poet with the memorable name “Q.”
We encountered poverty and simple happiness. We wonder why people who have so much more are not necessarily happier. Johan (Rawlinson) said, “they lost the plot.”
I also met a Zambian man who was enjoying a cold soda next to the filling station. He wanted to know what our campaign was all about. After I explained he said that men can be victims too, and complained about the verbal aggression he suffered from his wife. I acknowledged the issue and we concluded that we needed more harmony and communication and an end to all Gender Based Violence.
He gave me his phone number and I had to promise to stay in touch. We will. You bet.
We owe it to the UN, to Harley Davidson Johannesburg, and to ourselves. This partnership has a lot of mileage in it, said Fanie Haarhoff (Harley Davidson Dealer Principle). And he is 100% right.
Men have to wake up, count their blessings and love their wives, partners and children. Protect them not neglect them.