The What About The Boys? x Markham Initiative

Markham’s CSI focus for 2024 sees us partnering with ‘What About The Boys?’ to aid in combating gender-based violence.


Written by: Lynette Botha

In a world where gender-based violence (GBV) continues to plague societies, initiatives like ‘What About The Boys?’ are essential in addressing the root causes of this pressing issue. As a leading men’s fashion retailer, we recognise the urgency of the situation and have joined hands with ‘What About The Boys?’ to make a significant impact. This collaboration aims not only to raise funds but also to promote a positive shift in masculinity and challenge harmful stereotypes.



So, what is ‘What About The Boys?’


‘What About The Boys?’ is a national movement with a mission to combat gender-based violence by focusing on helping boys redefine masculinity and dismantling societal stereotypes. The initiative recognises that the fight against GBV must begin at an early age to create lasting change. To achieve this, ‘What About The Boys?’ empowers boys with the following principles:

  1. Sharing emotions in a healthy way
    Encouraging boys to express their feelings openly and constructively, challenging the notion that “boys don’t cry.”
  2. Standing up to bullying and inequality
    Instilling a sense of responsibility in boys to confront bullying and inequality, fostering a culture of respect and empathy.
  3. Accepting and connecting with others
    Promoting inclusivity and acceptance of diverse backgrounds, reinforcing the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect.
  4. Breaking free from stereotypes
    Addressing toxic stereotypes that perpetuate harmful ideas such as ‘Women are weak’ or ‘Don’t be like a gay man,’ promoting individuality and authenticity.

To drive home these values, ‘What About The Boys?’ conducts national screenings of an educational film aimed at raising awareness about GBV. These screenings target Grade 8-12 learners across South Africa, where the conversation about gender stereotypes and emotional development is critical. Following each screening, ongoing mentorship dialogues challenge gender stereotypes, providing boys with the tools to grow into responsible, empathetic young men. Each boy also commits to a #DoBetter pledge, a personal commitment to be a part of the solution.



Markham x ‘What About The Boys?’


Markham’s decision to partner with ‘What About The Boys?’ signifies a crucial step in addressing the social crisis of GBV in South Africa. By participating in education and mentorship dialogue, boys can become ambassadors for change in their communities and inspire others to follow suit – and the importance of this initiative cannot be overstated. GBV remains a critical issue in South African society, and this important collaboration intends to reach deeper into communities to effect change at its core. As a leading men’s fashion retailer, Markham has a unique connection to men throughout South Africa, and therefore a profound responsibility to use our reach to connect with a broader audience, leveraging our brand’s influence to assist in combating GBV and redefining masculinity.



How you can help


Our ‘What About The Boys?’ product launch is more than just a fashion statement; it’s a call to action. Our aim is to raise R1.35 million in sales to contribute towards this noteworthy cause. For each T-shirt sold, R50 will be donated to ‘What About The Boys?’ and for each sweatshirt, R100. By supporting us, and wearing these garments, individuals not only express their dedication but also become ambassadors for change, contributing to a future free from violence.


By focusing on boys’ education, mentorship, and challenging harmful stereotypes, this initiative aims to create a world filled with responsible, empathetic, and respectful men. It’s a call to action for all of us. Together, we can make a difference and work towards a violence-free future.


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