Men network and confront their vulnerabilities at the ‘Man Cave’

Dann Mwangi

From Left: NTV’s Dann Mwangi, investigative journalist and CEO of Africa Uncensored John-Allan Namu, Jubilee Insurance Group CEO Julius Kipng’etich, former National Assembly Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo and NTV’s Brian Muchiri during the second edition of the Man Cave at Lake House,Tigoni on Saturday. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Men are seeking to be understood. You may think they are fine when you see them walking about but deep down, they seek compassion. They are living in a vortex of confusion in a life riddled with uncertainties.

This is what came out during the Mancave—a men-only affair at the Lake House Tigoni, a serene getaway in Limuru. This was the second edition of the event, following on the inaugural one held in November 2022.

The Man Cave discusses Gen-Z men's dress code

There were the well-chiselled and the rotund, the bald-headed and the bushy. But one thing cut across: they were all dressed the part. They arrived in full spirits and in all manner of cars, and it didn’t take long before the parking was full. 

It was billed as an event where men were to come and be macho as well as vulnerable. They would come to be inspired, network and exchange ideas. NTV Innovation and Training Editor Dann Mwangi, who was one of the moderators, told the Nation that it exceeded those expectations.

“It was a great event with a lot of learning and a good ground-breaking for more to come,” he said, adding that the men really opened up.

“When the cameras went off, some raw conversations were held,” said Mr Mwangi. “We realised that there is strength in vulnerability.”

Leave a legacy

Men, like the other gender, are trudging on without a user manual and constantly seeking the right answers in every stage of their lives. They are seeking identity and to leave a legacy. But the societal labels keep weighing them down.

With a Gen Z considered complicated, a lot that can walk out of a job as though stepping out for lunch; the unpredictable millennial who is difficult to understand; and the unassuming boomer, the event went on to prove that men are leading the same life but in different generations. It hit all in attendance that the generational stereotypes are but different shades of the same life.

Punctuated with hearty laughs, the event allowed the men in attendance to begin to understand themselves and to know how to cordially co-exist in a planet that now houses up to five generations. While they unanimously agreed that life has no definite formula for perfection, the men were in agreement that they should stay true to their selves and leave a legacy.

Man Cave

Participants follow proceedings during the Man Cave event at Lake House, Tigoni, on Saturday. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Those who needed to cry did. Those who needed affirmation shared in the togetherness and the warmth of one another. In the end, the attendants resolved to be their brother’s keepers.

“I learnt a lot. I was even more deliberate this weekend on reducing my screen time to be more present for my wife and our daughters. You know, you go there to moderate and leave with parts of your life being moderated,” said Mr Mwangi.

Among the men who addressed the gathering were Mr Julius Kipng’etich, the CEO of Jubilee Insurance Group; former National Assembly Speaker Francis ole Kaparo; and Mr John-Allan Namu, an investigative reporter and the CEO of Africa Uncensored.

To remain afloat, Mr Kipng’etich urged men to leave a legacy behind, describing legacy as “a product of a vision lived and well executed”.

According to him, the world has changed rapidly in the past three decades.

These changes, he said, have transformed the way we live, work and communicate, creating new opportunities and challenges for individuals and societies around the world.

Healthy living

An air of brusque determination punctuated most speeches as men advised each other on the importance of going for counselling, healthy living and investment.

The forum further heard that the drastically changing times and economic pressures are weakening the male gender. The rise of women, probably because they are bringing home income, too, was highlighted as one of the present-day crises that modern men live with.

The attendants found warmth, resonance and togetherness, sharing experiences, networking, goal-setting, and socialising with great food and great music. They were then treated to great music as the sun went down as the insightful event transitioned into the night.

“There was fire engagement on the panel as former Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo, in his old school of thought, clashed with our Gen Z ambassador on the panel Brian Muchiri, an NTV reporter and Nation FM news presenter. This was an experience that did a lot for many,” said Mr Mwangi. In all, he believes this was an enlightening encounter.

“I learnt a lot, felt comforted that some of my struggles are not mine alone,” he said.

“A lot of the guys who were there said they loved it and look forward to more. They even gave ideas of how they think we can carry forward. This is a show of ownership; evidence that it’s not an NMG (Nation Media Group) thing, but a real man’s affair,” said Mr Mwangi.