The Brotherhood, as it is named because of its strong male presence, was established in August last year by a group of compassionate young men who felt that social issues affecting men needed to be brought to the forefront.
Charity work, health issues and tourism are the main mandates of the organisation.
Although the organisation has only been functional for around six months, it has already attracted over 540 members and is coordinated by an executive committee of 10. The organisation does have quite a few female members though it does not try to be exclusively male but rather tries to highlight social issues affecting men and encourage more men to become involved in charity work.
In December of last year, 48 members of the organisation went on a trip to Cape Town where they visited the Beautiful Gate Child and Family Resource centre, a charity home in the city. Books and stationery that were provided courtesy of the UB souvenir and bookstores were donated to the centre. According to a report they compiled, Cape Town emerged as the chosen destination because it is the highest ranked tourist destination in South Africa but has a population of whom 30% live below the poverty line.
They accumulated the donations for the Cape Town trip through two campaigns, in which they placed donation boxes throughout the University of Botswana campus. They cooperated with the Water Utilities Company, Books Botswana, UB Souvenir shop and the Botswana Tourism Board to make it happen.
In February this year, they went on a camping trip to Kolobeng, a national heritage site. They were able to invite the village development committee, the headman and other important elders in the area who delivered speeches on the area’s historical significance.
They also helped clean the area, as Kolobeng is the site where the annual Mantshwabisi desert race is held, so an excess of rubble was lying around the locale. They managed to shoot a documentary about their experiences in Kolobeng, which is supposed to be aired on Botswana television on a date yet to be finalised.
However, the project that The Brotherhood is most heavily involved in concerns Matlo go sha mabapi, an Old Naledi based HIV/AIDS counselling centre that doubles as a day care centre for the children of disadvantaged residents. The centre was recently forced to move locations to a building that they will be allowed to use courtesy of a church in the neighbourhood. They will have to raise money to pay rent as well installing new windowpanes, furniture and a fence around the property as it is currently not in a state conducive for childcare. Our local crusaders are set to donate books and clothes to Matlo go sha mabapi on the 14th of April.
They also have a proposed Men’s seminar in UB with a yet unconfirmed date in April. The theme of the seminar will be “Men in society” and will feature experts talking about health issues affecting men like testicular and prostate cancer. There will also be discussions about gender issues and speeches on men and HIV/AIDS testing. The speakers of the event are still to be announced.
The founders of the organisation, derived inspiration from Brothers for life, an international campaign based in South Africa that tackles similar issues affecting men, both in South Africa and globally. The Brotherhood is actually planning to go on a trip to the Brothers for life headquarters in Johannesburg in May of this year, in order to try to establish a formal working relationship between the two related movements.
An important member of the organisation, Bahati Mwemutsi had this to say to the public, “I would encourage more men, especially male students, to join in and do their part in helping those who are disadvantaged. Often, we work only for our own benefit but it’s always good to extend your hands and help out in society so you can be a better man yourself.”
For his part, the organisation’s president, Kenny Pule appealed to people and companies that are interested in making a difference to the lives of the less privileged in our community to send donations to The Brotherhood. “The children of Matlo go sha mabapi are going to need more clothes and stationery and the building, which will house them needs furniture and other things.” For anyone interested in making a donation or even joining the organisation to lend a helping hand, The Brotherhood can be reached via email on [email protected]