Caught in a vicious circle

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Nov 26 2012, 00:01:20

High unemployment and poverty in South African townships is causing despairing young men to turn to alcohol and drugs, and sexual violence is widespread. But there are signs of change

Sitting in a room with cardboard boxes of condoms stacked in one corner, a group of teenagers debates poverty, gender violence and the role of men.

"The word is that men are dogs," says university student Nontsikelelo Mapoma, her hands gesticulating passionately. The room fills with laughter. "The word is that I, as a woman, need a man, and therefore I would tolerate [any of] his behaviour."

Mapoma's parents are divorced. Her father recently lost his job and she can see the effect that her mother supporting the family financially is having on him. "He feels we no longer see him as a father because he can't provide," she explains. "Shouting orders and using violence is an attempt for control."

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