Monyane Ntoi – Lesotho

Monyane Ntoi – Lesotho

Date: September 16, 2015
  • SHARE:

It is never to too late to learn new things and there is nothing wrong with that

“It is just few months since I started working with Gender Links (GL) or knowing it very well, but it has already given me another life and my life has changed so drastically that I cannot believe it.” My name is Monyane Ntoi and I work as chairperson of the Phuthiatsana Community Council and I have been a councillor for almost nine years now. It has been quite a journey, but I wish I could have known Gender Links earlier”

Cllr Monyane has been chairperson since he joined the council years ago and he describes it as a miracle that he does not even know how to explain or understand, but he believes that it is with the support of his wife. Before he contested the local government elections in 2008 he was not working at all as he had just been retrenched from the mines. He found it very difficult to adapt to things at home as he was used to spending all his time at the mines. He only came home during long holidays, so he had no idea what it was like to be at home full time, but he managed.

He realised that most men in his village were sick, especially the ones who were working on the mines. He was amazed at the way the women were struggling to look after them because there were just too many of them and it was too much for women to look after all of them, especially to bathe them. He wondered why men did not participate in the support groups to assist the women and he was shocked when he heard some of the excuses men would give when asked why they were not part of the support groups. It really got him thinking as he thought to himself that it was not fair on the women to be allowed to do all the work by themselves. He had no idea what he could do to help but knew that something needed to be done.

He decided to go with the women members just to see and learn how things were done and he was able to see how the women were struggling and he would help. He fell in love with the whole process and wondered why men were not participating. Most men did not like the whole idea of him participating in the care work as they would even call him “ntili”, a man who walks with women all the time. They even asked if he was tired of being a man and wanted to shift to being a woman because they associated care work with women only.

He says that it did not bother him as he knew very well what he wanted and that most people were interested in him and appreciated what he was doing and they convinced him to stand for the local government elections. He said that he was not really interested as he realised that most politicians were not honest and he did not want that as he only wanted to help people and he thought that he had found something very important and new that he could pursue. He wanted to make sure that all men in his area participated in care work and assisted the women.

He decided to stand in the local government elections only because he thought if he became a councillor it would be very easy to convince men. He won the polls and he became a councillor and luckily he was nominated as chairperson. However things were not as easy as he thought they would be, but he thinks Gender Links has made it easy for him and wishes he had known GL earlier because he believes things could have been better. GL was able to put most of the issues into perspective and he was able to understand even more why it was difficult for men to do some of the things.

He was very excited when GL undertook training on making care work count in local government as he could see that it was going to answer most of his questions and also put pressure on men in the council just to make them aware that they also need to take part in care work. He continued to work with women so as to give them moral support. As chairperson of the council, he sometimes needed to make some harsh decisions to help the people they serve. He had to put on the table that all men in the council had to become support group members in their different villages and that was the best move he could ever have made for his council and he believes that he could not have done it if it was not for the help of GL. GL was able to show, in a very clear way, that both men and women need to participate in all the issues that affect them and he is for ever grateful to GL.

His future plan is to register all the support groups in their community and to see that the government gives them something to appreciate the work that they do voluntarily and also to show that men can also do voluntary work.



Comment on Monyane Ntoi – Lesotho

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *