WINDHOEK: Sam Shaalulange, the Deputy Commissioner General of the Namibia Correctional Service (NCS), emphasized the importance of redefining masculinity towards a more positive and constructive role in society. Speaking at a men’s conference in Windhoek, he stressed the need for a shift in the societal understanding of what it means to be a man.
According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), the concept of positive masculinity can lead to a safer and more conducive society. He highlighted the negative consequences of traditional views of masculinity in Namibia, including suicides, passion killings, and violence. Shaalulange pointed out that economic challenges exacerbating feelings of inadequacy among men have led to a rise in suicides, as they struggle with the inability to provide for their families or achieve societal expectations such as home ownership.
The Deputy Commissioner General called on men, particularly those in uniform and community leaders, to promote positive masculinity, aiming for a future where men and boys are healthier and more empowered. He believes this shift could lead to a significant reduction in male suicides and other negative outcomes associated with toxic masculinity.
Benson Matali, the Deputy Director for Gender Mainstreaming in the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, also addressed the conference. Matali noted that Namibia, despite ranking highly in gender equality and achieving significant progress in education, health, politics, and economic empowerment, still faces challenges with male suicides attributed to toxic masculinity. He stated that Namibia is number one in Africa and eighth globally in terms of gender equality.
The conference, held under the theme ‘zero male suicide: promoting masculinity,’ comes in the wake of alarming statistics revealing that Namibia recorded 623 suicide cases between August 2022 and June 2023, with men representing 82 percent (511 cases) of these incidents. The high rate of male suicides has raised concerns and underscored the urgency of addressing issues related to masculinity and mental health in the country.