Stories of Change  1: Charles  (Real name withheld)

I am a black male with forty five years of age, a resident of a township in Klerksdorp. I am married with three children, two boys and one girl. I was employed at the South African Defence force for over seven years. At this moment I am unemployed with no income. Life is too difficult for me as I am no longer able to provide for my family accordingly. This situation in itself is burden to me, it stresses me, and it makes me to worry too much. Some of my friends whom I used to hang around me have turned their back at me because I am no longer active when it comes to putting some drinks in the table. I have to admit that I drink alcohol, and at times I abuse it for unknown reasons. Maybe because there is too much going on in my head. Sometimes the contradiction is where I am getting the money for drinks while there is a shortage at home on household items such as food, toiletries, and electricity, the reality is there are still some friends out there who do not mind to share their drinks with me. The only problem is that they are not assisting financially to help put food at the table. Luckily my wife is having an income even though it is not enough to cater for all our household needs.

Absa tavern is my tavern, I like it because it is peaceful, the music is awesome, and maybe that is the reason for its peacefulness. I like the idea of man’s sessions in the Absa tavern, I have participated in about five session’s right at the tavern. I am encouraged and feel positive as a man with huge family responsibilities. I always tell my wife that I am benefiting a lot from going into a tavern and engage with other man in discussions. I gain a lot from fellow men, they give advice on how to control anger, being a role model, responsible drinking, caring for the family. I am strong and positive because of these sessions at the tavern. I now understand how to cope as a man on complex issues around gender such as religion, culture, and Africanism.

It is my wish that these sessions do not stop because they are currently my source of inspiration and hope, I expect these sessions to help me deal with all my family challenges and move forward with life as a happy man. I have signed a form at the tavern in which I committed myself to act against gender based violence, and irrespective of my situation I will strive to become a best dad and husband to my children and wife.