I always consider it a privilege to share a few thoughts on the male conversation, a passion I have carried for years now as I consistently see the need to focus on this gender in view of the numerous challenges of being a man in 21st century Afrika.
In my personal observation of life in general, I have come to appreciate the importance of communication in relationships across the board. Every relationship thrives on the ability to convey meaning between two people for the success of their interaction. Communication, as we are told, is not successful until the receiver understands the intent of the sender without any ambiguity whatsoever, so communication must be clear and must elicit the response the sender expects, which is the original intent of interface.
We can comfortably agree that communication makes the world go round. People must be able to pass and receive information for life to run a clean cycle. Whether it’s language, signs, body language, tones etc., communication is the soul of relationships as people need to consistently engage each other to ensure a successful lifespan of any relationship.
Boys who eventually become men will find themselves always involved in one relationship or the other throughout their lifespan, from the immediate family to friends, authority, colleagues, wife, children, in-laws, work place and many more.
However it is very interesting to note many men struggle with communication in general. Traditional masculine ideology of raising boys carries certain mindsets that eventually shape how and why boys communicate. Many boys globally grow up with one or more of these myths: boys are superior to girls; opening up on deep emotional issues is weakness and a female characteristic; and lastly, it’s girls that talk too much. The direct fall outs of the above are that boys will communicate with girls from a condescending posture, boys will find it hard to share emotions and information with those they have an intimate relationship with and will have poor listening skills in multiple relationships.
Many men globally suffer from a condition called alexithymia, a situation where you have very few words to express how you feel and it contributes a great deal to the cycle of violence in men. When one party has been socialized with poor communication skills or to communicate with a self-preservation motive, it only follows that many relationships will have major communication challenges.
As social beings, our multiple relationships will require that we intentionally observe the communication patterns of those we are in relationships with so as to ensure we create communication that is suitable for each unique relationship. Today many marriages, parenting, business and other social relationships suffer because of communication gone wrong, verbal abuse and gender based violence are constantly being flared by communication issues.
The sad reality today is that the rise in depression, mental health issues and suicide in men is clearly linked to men who find it difficult to process pain internally, communicate their feelings and emotions to the required persons and lack the skills to ensure communication is efficient in crucial interactions.
The new challenges of the 21st century, which include the reality of social media and the sensitive nature of information delivery and meaning, mean that we as a society must create communication that is clear and seamless, if Afrika must rise to her full potential. We have to hit the ground running in terms of deploying our most qualified human capacity community to tackle the most daunting of our challenges. We will require everyone communicating for the purpose of clarity,engagement and growth.
This communication revolution must begin in our homes as the bedrock on which society is built, we must intentionally prepare boys to understand the key role they will play in the future and that communication is the soul of every interaction required to create a new Afrika.

About the author

Omooba Deji Irawo

Omooba Deji Irawo

Deji is a Multi-channel media executive with almost 3 decades
experience in the TV broadcast industry, he is also a male resource person with focus on emotional male dysfunction. He is involved in male advocacy in collaboration with various men networks in Nigeria. Deji writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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