The Sunday Mail
Zandile Zaza Ndlovu
Patriarchal systems have conditioned men to bottle up issues and avoid openly talking about the challenges they might be facing.
So, when men are abused, they tend to keep quiet.
While cases of gender-based violence (GBV) are on the increase, men are usually considered the perpetrators.
However, a new group called Brothers With Voices (BWV) is trying to change the norm through art.
Led by the trio of Kudzai J. Ndoro (29), Batsirai Takwana Mhuka (30) and Christopher Tichakunda Mfarinya (29), who have been friends for years, the group is now using different art forms to convey anti-GBV messages.
Ndoro is a digital marketer, actor, voice-over artist and art dealer based in Canada, while Zimbabwe-based Mhuka is an accountant, MC, comedian and social butterfly.
Mfarinya is an educator and professional introvert based in Dubai.
They are all on different continents but unite online as BWV to push their agenda.
The first impression one gets when viewing their Facebook page is to mistake them for a new music boy band. They use comedy, satire and animation to articulate key societal issues such as the recent amendments to the Marriages Bill.
The satire and animation usually draws in the audience to the Facebook page and just when they get hooked, it disappears and an image of the immaculately dressed men instantaneously appears.
Most often, this makes one want to know more about the group.
“Nowadays, seldom do men sit ‘padare’ to just talk and educate each other, and we want to fill that gap.
“The best part is all three of us vibe very well even though we have extremely different personalities. It makes a perfect cocktail of opinions as we have fun while educating others and ourselves,” explains Ndoro.
BWV started as a platform to publicly discuss and share individual experiences on pertinent topics that are often considered taboo.
“From the feedback we get, we notice we are opening gateways for men’s perspectives,” adds Mhuka.
The group reckons social media, which has a wider reach, is a perfect platform to share ideas.
They mainly focus on sensitive topics that are often discussed in private in order to highlight the challenges faced by men.
However, this is done in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
“I think we all have the same mind-set — those in the Diaspora and those at home. Due to our differences in culture, most people out of Zimbabwe can afford to voice their opinions and lead the life they desire . . .” says Mfarinya.
Responding to why they resorted to using satire and animation, Mhuka quoted George Bernard Shaw — the Irish playwright — who once said: “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they will kill you.”
BWV has benefited a lot from the ongoing Covid-19-induced lockdown, which has resulted in most online platforms becoming leading sources of both entertainment and education.
Zandile Zaza Ndlovu is an arts and lifestyle reporter. You can follow her on Facebook page Zaza and on Twitter and Instagram on @zazaliciousone.