Speech to Parliament by South African President Nomzana Naidoo-Green on the Occasion of National Men’s Month 2307
Honourable Madam Members
Madam Chair of the National Council of Provinces
Madams of the Media
Ladies and Madams
In celebrating Men’s Month for the first time, it is important that we take a moment to recognise the contribution men have made to our country. All too often, we remember only the horror and forget that the pioneers of modern medicine, mining, construction, law and sport were all men.
But while it is this government’s policy to give credit where it is due, I believe it is equally important that our children continue to learn about the Great Argument of 2050, the Great Silence of 2060 and the Great War of 2100.
Today, fewer men than ever before are serving in positions of power. Every political party is headed by a woman. Women constitute 95% of our armed forces. Our national soccer and rugby teams consist solely of women. Building sites are full of women. Road crews and garbage collectors are all female. The scales of equality have been heavily balanced in our favour for the past two hundred years (pause for applause).
Men’s Month honours those who relinquished their grip on power all those years ago. We also salute their children and their children’s children, many of whom are right now preparing the evening meal and making themselves look attractive for when we get home.
Even though men continue to be barred from holding positions of political or economic power, the fledgling Men’s Liberation Movement is making headway. Earlier this week, I was informed that a man had been elected chairman of a basket-weaving collective in the Northern Cape. This is to be welcomed, not feared. Having said that, I give the assurance that members of the fringe Meninist rebel group are monitored at all times by our intelligence agencies.
It was our foremothers’ relentless demands for equality that gave us complete control, and I am not for one minute suggesting that we concede any of our gains. However, as sweet as it is, victory has come at a price. With critical levels of oestrogen in our drinking water and the steady weakening of the Y chromosome, our baby boys are little more than genetically modified baby girls. Whether this is a good thing or not is currently the subject of debate at national level.
While we all agree that men are not yet sufficiently evolved to be accepted as our equals, there are steps we must take if we hope to reduce the high rate of suicide among our young male population. Self-inflicted deaths often have a negative causal effect on foreign direct investment, particularly when it comes to defiantly patriarchal countries such as America, Germany and Nigeria.
We could start by allowing married men to travel outside their demarcated areas with permission from their wives. They could also be permitted to open bank accounts with the written consent of their state-appointed guardians. And, one day, as radical as it may sound, we might give even them the vote.
There has already been considerable change. It is no longer compulsory for men to donate their seed once a month. The last sperm bank closed its doors many years ago and although sex is not illegal, it remains immoral. Today, most children are conceived through electrofusion. Admittedly, the process only breeds girls. But there is still freedom of choice. For women who prefer to fall pregnant the old-fashioned way, embryonic stem cell kits that produce synthetic sperm are available at state supermarkets around the country.
I am the first to admit that running a country is hard work. When I am called upon to take a difficult executive decision about overthrowing a male president in a neighbouring country, I often think of my househusband and envy him his simple life.
At risk of being called a Meninist sympathiser, I would say the time is coming for us to encourage our men to leave their kitchens, cancel their proctologist appointments and take a more active interest in the affairs of state. I fear, however, that it will be no easy task to persuade them to break free from their cocoons of domesticity.
Two generations of men have grown accustomed to living lives that revolve around children, cleaning, cooking, manicures, pedicures and playing tennis on Wednesdays. We may need to offer incentives. Or, failing that, impose martial law.
But it is still early days. The Men’s Movement has a long way to go before it receives any kind of meaningful support at grassroots level. After all, centuries of damage cannot be undone overnight. Landscaping units are still in the process of returning thousands of unsightly golf estates to their natural state. Teams of forensic auditors continue to unravel complex tender scams going back 250 years. An enormous stockpile of warships, fighter planes, tanks, guns and ammunition is in the process of being melted down and reworked as part of our national Jewellery For The People campaign.
Even though it is only future generations that will reap the benefit, my government remains committed to the National Rectification Effort.
The time for blame and retribution is almost over. Men’s Month marks a new era, an era of forgiveness, an era in which I hope to see men once again being treated as human beings and not simply as domestic servants, sex objects or things to hold the door open for us.
In closing, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that domestic violence has reached unacceptable levels. Our prisons, long since converted into shelters for abused men, are full to overflowing. In the spirit of conciliation, I urge all of you to use non-violent methods when it comes to helping men to understand what it is that you want to say, mean to say, think what you mean and want them to guess what you think you mean.
Finally, when I retire at the end of my 10th term, I hope to see at least one male face in this august house.
I hereby declare parliament in oestrus. Happy holidays, girls.