Lending their names to the Brothers for Life campaign is simply the right thing to do, say some of South Africa's leading sports stars who have signed up as Brothers for Life.
South African footballers Teko Modise and Matthew Booth, South African rugby captain John Smit, South African cricket captain Graeme Smith, Bulls rugby player Tiger Mangweni, and international football superstars Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Mame Biram Diof (Manchester United), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Yaya Toure (FC Barcelona), Thierry Henri (FC Barcelona) andKeita (FC Barcelona), have all stood up in support of Brothers for Life and taken to heart its slogan, "yenza kahle" (do the right thing).
Brothers for Life, the national men's campaign that seeks to mobilise the silent majority of men to take a stand on issues that affect them and those around them, has mobilised the support of these sports stars with support from USAID, UNICEF, Manchester United and FC Barcelona.
"I believe I can play a role in spreading the message of responsibility and decency among men," says Matthew Booth, a dedicated family man who through Brothers for Life hopes to influence men to reduce the number of sexual partners they have.
"All real men should have these qualities. I can't help but feel that we are on the decline as a society in many regards ... one being the way men behave among each other and towards women. Brothers for Life has therefore been a breath of fresh air and a sign of hope when it comes to trying to change South African men's mentality."
For his teammate Teko Modise, HIV/AIDS have touched so many families - including his own, which is why he will promote the Brothers for Life messages about HIV testing and counselling, and alcohol.
"It is so important for us all to know our HIV status, and live our lives accordingly. HIV is not a death sentence, when it is properly managed. But to do that, and to not spread HIV to others, one needs to take an HIV test. Equally, because people are inclined to take risks when they are drunk, people need to drink alcohol responsibly," says Modise.
Says John Smit, who led the Springboks to their second Rugby World Cup win in 2007: "All men should be responsible when it comes to their health and wellbeing, and that of their families. As a sporting personality, I believe I am in a position where I can make a difference, and positively influence men to change their lives for the better. This is why I have chosen to promote the Brothers for Life messages around responsible alcohol, HIV testing and counselling."
"Brothers for Life is about men encouraging other men to live their lives more responsibly - and that is why I am a Brother," says cricketer Graeme Smith, who will support messaging on condoms, and HIV testing and counselling.
"As the South African national cricket captain I am expected to be a role model, and that is a responsibility I take seriously. It just makes sense to be a part of a movement such as Brothers for Life."