‘Better Health For Men And Boys’

This morning our boys and staff were given their blue ribbons to wear, as we celebrate International Men’s Day.
Members of the School Executive Council with Mr Williams (Headmaster) in support of International Men’s Day. This blue-ribbon represents our continued commitment to creating an environment of care and support, and enhancing the process of healing as well as learning and transformation for all of us as we reinforce the Core Values of ‘Respect for Self’ and ‘Respect for Others’. Our Blue Ribbon Day forms part for our determination to address constructively the many challenging issues we face as a society and in particular the role of men in that society. This continues the stand taken by our boys and staff against all forms of violence and abuse, particularly Gender-Based Violence and Child Abuse, on various public platforms.
On 25 November we shall renew our pledge at Parktown High School for Girls against all forms of Gender-Based Violence, and we shall again undertake our boys’ silent protest against all forms of abuse on Empire Road and Jan Smuts Avenue during the upcoming ‘16 Days of Activism’ against Woman and Child Abuse.

We Recognise Those Who Have The Courage To Speak Out Against Any Form Of Abuse. In addition, our Blue Ribbon Day recognises and commends the courage of those young men directly affected by past abuse for their courage in speaking out and taking a stand against wrongdoings and
injustices done to them, and then following through in most difficult and trying circumstances. These young men showed fortitude and resilience, and we remain proud of them. A few weeks ago, a private ceremony was held at Druce Hall where the newly introduced Druce Safety Bell was fittingly rung for the first time by the young men directly affected by the Rex Case. The ringing of the ‘Druce Safety Bell’ marked the start of a positive and affirming rite of passage which will symbolise our continued focus on the safety and welfare of boys in boarding, and at school. Each boy, going forward,
who rings the bell will be committing to upholding the safety and welfare of themselves and of others, to speaking out against wrongdoings, and to seeking assistance when a peer needs help or support. The physical ringing of the ‘Druce Safety Bell’ is a personal and visible statement by each boy that he recognises the School’s Core Value of ‘Respect for All’, and that he rejects all forms of initiation and abuse, which are banned. The Seniors, in particular, have the responsibility of ensuring respect is earned rather than demanded, and ensuring the safety and well-being of those junior to them.
The wearing of the Blue Ribbon by our boys and members of staff is the same personal and visible statement, that they will uphold the School’s Core Values.
Celebrating Positive Male Role Models And Raising Awareness Of Men’s Health Issues. This year’s theme, ‘Better Health for Men and Boys’, is relevant and important and spans a number of key issues, including the need to promote conversations about men’s mental health, toxic masculinity, suicide
prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

The bottom line is that men are not good at this stuff. In fact we have not been good at it for millennia. The ‘Cowboys Don’t Cry’, ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ approach just does not cut it anymore. Despite this stereotype remaining embedded in our global world, we shall not shy away from continuing to challenge this mindset,which is short-sighted and counterproductive. All the research on Men’s Health matters clearly shows this. Support Our Men’s Hygiene Drive For Men Marginalised By Socio-Economic Hardships. We, as a school, would like to make a contribution in uplifting those men marginalised as a result of being affected by socio-economic hardships. Because poor hygiene often accompanies certain mental or emotional disorders we feel, that addressing this basic need, will in some small way contribute to them having a positive sense of self. The Representative Council of Learners (RCL) have embarked on a Men’s Hygiene Drive and are appealing to you and your son / ward to donate either basic men’s toiletries (i.e. deodorant, razors, shaving cream, etc.) or a monetary contribution, to purchase men’s toiletries.
The contribution of men’s hygiene products received from staff, parents and boys will be donated to MES Johannesburg (‘Mould, Empower, Serve’), a Men’s shelter for the Marginalised. This Drive has been advertised across all of our media platforms. If you missed the published return date
(today), do not fear as all further donations will also be donated to MES. Our Boys Say It In Their Own Words – “Watch This Video Clip!” The link below will take you to a video clip workshopped by a group of our Senior Boys. This video clip, introduced by 2021 Head Boy, Keagan van Huyssteen, and concluded by 2020 Head Boy, O’Neill
Chihwayi, has a number of boys from our 2020 Matric Leadership Group commenting on what Blue Ribbon Day and International Men’s Day represents for them. We commend Muaawiyah Dadabhay on his compilation of the video.
They not only ‘tell it like it is’, they tell how it ‘must be’. I state again: we need not worry about the future of our country, with the young leaders we have coming through the system. We are proud of them. So…..watch the Video!

We Commit To Growing ‘Gentle Men’ At Our School And By Extension, In Our Community:
Our focus is on fostering in our young men a revised concept of leadership and of ‘Gentle Men’ – founded upon respect for others, authenticity, empathy, compassion, courage, selfhood and resilience, and acknowledging the need to speak out when one’s values are compromised. It is Values-Based Moral Leadership which will ensure we grow good husbands, good sons, good fathers and good brothers, who will make a difference in their school and in their society. Yours sincerely
Malcolm Williams

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