Written by Noella Luka
How do men relate with other men? For most, their conversations greatly revolve around business deals, sports and cars. However, there is so much more that goes on in our day-to-day relationships that men in particular don’t openly talk about especially to other men.
Aernout Zevenbergen, Zambian-born award-nominated journalist, has dared to ask questions many would otherwise ignore. He engaged a lively crowd during the Storymoja’s Hay Festival 2012 as he spoke about his book Spots of a Leopard-on being a man.
Spots of a leopard looks at the lives of different African men; a president, a preacher, bikers and truckers, a king dressed in rags as well as an ancestor who smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish. These are stories of leopards who try to erase their spots.
One particular story that stands out in the book is about Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda who talks about the cause of his son’s death. Kenneth Kaunda openly talks about his son succumbing to H.I.V Aids and his aggressive campaign against H.I.V.
For Aernout, Spots of a Leopard is a personal journey to discover the meaning of manhood in Africa, during an era that is plagued by economic troubles, sexual violence and Aids.
The session was moderated by Storymoja’s Martin Njaga and questions that emerged from the discussion showed that the problem is not restricted to the African context, but is worldwide.
Aernout resides in Kenya. The quest to find answers of male identity, led him into the journey of discovery through domains of spirit and soul, intellect and intuition, reason and riddle. Look out for Spots of a Leopard in bookstores.