#JustMen docudrama tackles toxic male masculinity

by Lindiwe Mlandu

#JustMen is a docu-drama which tackles toxic male masculinity, rape culture, and gender-based violence. The show featuring four men, Loukmaan Adams, Heinrich Reisenhofer, Thando Doni and new cast member Peter Christians has returned to the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town for the second time. It runs until 3 August 2019.

The aim of the show is to address all the crimes perpetrated by men against women and children. It’s a response to the #MeToo movement. The 70 minutes show kicks off with them catcalling a woman. They start with whistles and unwanted attention that most women have been subjected to while walking down the streets. The whistles quickly turn to cursing and threats of violence.
They follow it up by sharing rape jokes that men tell among themselves. There were sudden gasps from the audience as Thando asked, “What’s nice about raping a child? You can use their tears as lubrication.”

The cast then shares their personal stories. There’s no script. The show transcends race, culture and religion. Loukmaan shares his experience as a Muslim teenager growing up in Mitchell’s Plain. He was in a band and started touring from a young age.
He recounts how men used women and boasted about having numerous children throughout the country. He says, “We’ve created a generation of fatherless children.”

Thando talks about growing up in Khayelitsha. His father physically abused his mother while men in the community watched on. No one stood up to defend her mother when his father dragged her on the streets. Peter talks about killing a man at the age of 18 and serving six years at Pollsmoor Prison. Heinrich shares his story of how alcohol abuse affected his family. He also talks about rape and how it affects everyone.

The show is raw. It’s brutal, but it’s very important because for once, men are doing the work. Women have been talking. And now men are stepping up and calling on each other to show up and take responsibility for their actions.

It’s a pity the show is only in Cape Town, but they realise the issues are the same throughout the country, so they have a Facebook page #JustMen where men engage with each other. They are committed to unlearning toxic masculinity and becoming better people.
It doesn’t matter where you are, you can join the conversation. It is about time men take responsibility for their actions.

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