Good African Men

I have been reading the Good Men Project for about two months now. My fascination with the blog, or movement, depending on your loyalties, began with a single article. I can’t remember what it was about or who wrote it, but I do remember it made me stop, think, then subscribe. Now, everyday, I return to my feed curious what I will find.

The website has addressed the masculine spectrum, fatherhood, fidelity, sexuality, race, employment; the list goes on. What intrigues me about the coverage of these topics, since they are not in themselves novel, is that they are explored through individual stories. Each contributor tells his story about how that topic is a personal struggle or success of his manhood, and what he has learned from his journey. The site seems to unite these stories under two loose goals. First, there are men out there who want to be good men and secondly, those men are making difficult decisions daily that get them closer to what they believe it means to be a good man, and those decisions are not always that obvious, but sometimes they are.

As a woman, I appreciate that these men are willing to bare their soul for the benefit of their readers. Even when I do not agree with what I read, I still come away with a better understanding of where those men are coming from. There have been stories of a confrontation between friends over infidelity, a father struggling with how to raise his children to be good people, and how embracing all forms of masculinity allowed a man to embrace himself.

However, as an African woman, I can’t help but notice that our men are not involved in the conversation, and I wonder why? Do these conversations happen within the African community? Are there men aware of the impact of patriarchy on the potential of African nations? Do they care, and if they do, what are they doing about it? Where are the conversations about infidelity, where are the men who detest the immoral actions of their brothers, the men who are self-proclaimed feminists? As more and more African men and women are educated abroad, I wonder where is our platform, why are we not sharing our stories and encouraging such an honest dialogue?

When I imagine what the African continent could be, I imagine it begins with individuals who believe in goodness, kindness, generosity, and integrity. Without individuals who are dedicated to becoming good, our nations cannot be good.

Unfortunately, we tend to see nothing but men hungry for power, money, and sex. Our men are not prized for the incredible fathers they can be, the incredible leaders they might be, or the supportive and loving partners they are. Men like Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Ishmael Beah are lifted up as an example of the “good” but also as exceptions to the rule.

So…
African men, how did this perception of the African man come about?
Is it a well founded perception?
Where are your conversations about manhood?
What does it mean to be a good African man?
If you strive to be good, what keeps you from your goal?
How do African cultures keep you from being good?
What does it mean to be an African man?
Does African masculinity keep you from being good?
What place do feminist ideas have in the conversation of being a good African man?
What role do women have in the struggle to be a good man?
African women, have you been in the presence of a good African man?
Why do we share the stories of the fallen African man more than we share those of the good?
How does a good African man contribute to a home, community, a nation?

Check out this link and the clip for the GMP’s attempt to discuss African manhood: [link]

-Chinwe Ohanele

Good African Men
I have been reading the Good Men Project for about two months now. My fascination with the blog, or movement, depending on your loyalties, began with a single article. I can’t remember what it was about or who wrote it, but I do remember it made me stop, think, then subscribe. Now, everyday, I return to my feed curious what I will find.
The website has addressed the masculine spectrum, fatherhood, fidelity, sexuality, race, employment; the list goes on. What intrigues me about the coverage of these topics, since they are not in themselves novel, is that they are explored through individual stories. Each contributor tells his story about how that topic is a personal struggle or success of his manhood, and what he has learned from his journey. The site seems to unite these stories under two loose goals. First, there are men out there who want to be good men and secondly, those men are making difficult decisions daily that get them closer to what they believe it means to be a good man, and those decisions are not always that obvious, but sometimes they are.
As a woman, I appreciate that these men are willing to bare their soul for the benefit of their readers. Even when I do not agree with what I read, I still come away with a better understanding of where those men are coming from. There have been stories of a confrontation between friends over infidelity, a father struggling with how to raise his children to be good people, and how embracing all forms of masculinity allowed a man to embrace himself.
However, as an African woman, I can’t help but notice that our men are not involved in the conversation, and I wonder why? Do these conversations happen within the African community? Are there men aware of the impact of patriarchy on the potential of African nations? Do they care, and if they do, what are they doing about it? Where are the conversations about infidelity, where are the men who detest the immoral actions of their brothers, the men who are self-proclaimed feminists? As more and more African men and women are educated abroad, I wonder where is our platform, why are we not sharing our stories and encouraging such an honest dialogue?
When I imagine what the African continent could be, I imagine it begins with individuals who believe in goodness, kindness, generosity, and integrity. Without individuals who are dedicated to becoming good, our nations cannot be good.
Unfortunately, we tend to see nothing but men hungry for power, money, and sex. Our men are not prized for the incredible fathers they can be, the incredible leaders they might be, or the supportive and loving partners they are. Men like Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Ishmael Beah are lifted up as an example of the “good” but also as exceptions to the rule.
So…African men, how did this perception of the African man come about?Is it a well founded perception?Where are your conversations about manhood?What does it mean to be a good African man?If you strive to be good, what keeps you from your goal?How do African cultures keep you from being good?What does it mean to be an African man?Does African masculinity keep you from being good?What place do feminist ideas have in the conversation of being a good African man?What role do women have in the struggle to be a good man?African women, have you been in the presence of a good African man?Why do we share the stories of the fallen African man more than we share those of the good?How does a good African man contribute to a home, community, a nation?
Check out this link and the clip for the GMP’s attempt to discuss African manhood: [link]
-Chinwe Ohanele High-res