June is National Men’s Health Month and the South African government has dedicated the month to encouraging men to take care of themselves.
Additionally, the campaign aims to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
This also includes taking care of themselves mentally, as we have seen a rise in the number of men who commit suicide as a result of mental health issues.
Nounouche recently caught up with actor and producer Ayanda Makayi who is an advocate for men’s health issues to find out what really makes a man, and why men showing emotional vulnerability is still pathologised.
The talented actor has exclusively revealed to us that in his recent journey of self-discovery he has learned that the saying ‘indoda ayikhali’ (A man does not cry) is incomplete.
“It is actually ‘indoda ayikhali ikhalela ezenhliziyo phela’ ( A man cries for that which touches his heart) which is a very fundamental part that we have left behind because had we kept that part men would have been okay to talk and show vulnerability,” he corrected.
Ayanda who is a new dad and is trying to unlearn some of the toxic behaviors that he gathered in the past so that he can be a better man and as well as a better father to his son, also unpacked where toxic masculinity stems from.
According to the seasoned actor, it all stems from not allowing yourself to reach out for a helping hand when in need and creating a barrier which then later leads to a lot of anger as a result of the frustrations that you are facing.
“Men need to learn that it is okay to accept help because no one is going to say that you are less of a man because bottling something up inside will later explode and that is not what makes you a man. A man talks and, I believe it is about time that a lot of us do away with our fear of lack of masculinity,” he said.
Ayanda shared with Nounouche that men still have a lot to unlearn and some of those things include the fact that as men it is okay to make mistakes.
“But what is important is what you learn from the mistakes and whether you take accountability and responsibility for those,” he said.
When we started our conversation with the MTV Shuga Down South lead actor we wanted to know what exactly makes a man, and he shared with us that one can never really answer what makes a man.
“This is because you don’t become a man, but continue being a man, as life happens, so do you learn and adapt,” he said.