The past week saw Castle Lite creating a space for men to come together and share their concerns, anxieties, and underlying issues that have impacted their mental wellbeing as a result of this unprecedented year.
The two-day, mindset matters pop-up bar hosted in Rosebank (JHB), as well as via livestream for men to join in on the conversation was dubbed The Lite Bar.
Day 1 of the Lite Bar pop-up saw the official bartender of the night, Mpho Popps host a panel that featured Riky Rick, DJ Sbu, Dr. Nokukhanya Khanyile, and John Vlismas.
The panelists discussed a wide range of issues that face South African men such as fatherhood, breaking the stigma around mental health, toxic masculinity, fame, and the pressures of social media, as well the importance of therapy. The audience got a chance to join in the conversation and shared their own experience on mental health.
The conversations continued on day two kicking off with a flurry of activity as men were treated to exclusive haircuts from Tshepo the Barber. Funnyman Mpho Popps, returned once again as the host and bartender, and was joined by guests, Pearl Thusi, Somizi Mhlongo, David Scott of The Kiffness, and Proverb wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and sharing their thoughts on some intense topics around the psychological impact of 2020.
Guests opened up about mental health, fear of failure among men, coming out of the closet, attempted suicide, the need to emulate one’s parents, dangers of aspiring/adhering to social media standards and learning how to express not being okay, there was an overall positive sentiment from the audience which was regarded as a resounding success by attendees.
“This was only a small step in a conversation that needs more focus. The stigma is just that – a stigma. Sometimes by sharing our heavy we are able to make more room for some lite. We hope that the Lite bar showed men that, we hope that it opened the door slightly for conversations to happen easier. This might just be the start of the change we need.,” said Castle Lite Brand Director, Silke Bucker.
Aptly known as Africa’s biggest premium beer brand, Castle Lite has, throughout the year, sought to be a brand of encouragement and positivity for its consumers and the general public who were faced with a global pandemic and subsequent lockdown, which has been described as “the world’s biggest psychological experiment” in 2020.
It also became apparent to Castle Lite, through research and partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), that men are not only often overlooked when issues of mental health are discussed, but there is still a massive stigma attached to men showing any kind of emotional distress, particularly depression and anxiety.
According to SADAG statistics, four out of five people who die by suicide are men. “Yet, day after day, as we interact with our friends, our families, our partners, and our professional networks, countless men still have trouble using the words ‘mental health’ in relation to how they feel,” the research revealed.
The brand, therefore, created The Lite Bar to address these issues as well as the lack of understanding and support structures for men. The idea was premised on the notion that men seem to be more comfortable opening up and expressing their challenges either to their barber or to their bartenders, in a space seemingly free of judgment.
“Based on these insights, we were able to create a mindful matters bar that offered men the space to have serious and much-needed conversations amongst each other. We are very proud that those in attendance were brave enough to share and so open conversations for others to have,” Bucker concluded.