Using public figures as case studies, this timeline takes a look at the ways that prominent brands, the government and the public have responded to violence in the last twenty years.
Baby Jake Matlala
In August of 2000 boxing championship Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala was trialed for raping Julia Mnyamezeli Ntla on 18 August in 1998, two years before. In defending himself, Matlala said he “interpreted her body language as a desire to foster a physical relationship”, reported News24.
However during the court case, Ntla told the court that Matlala confessed to the incident during a meeting between herself, her pastor, perpetrator and their spouses.
The rape case was settled out of court and Matlala continued to fight in the ring until he retired in 2002.
When he did retire in March 2002, the occasion was marked with a ceremonious event where he was carried into the ring, at Carnival City, on a throne. Nelson Mandela and actor Will Smith were present for the farewell fight.
In January of 2011 Matlala was honoured at a gala dinner hosted by Golden Gloves, a South African boxing consortium. During the gala dinner, the then Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula said the following in his keynote address to Matlala:
On 6 December 2005 Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo filed rape charges against Jacob Zuma.
On 8 May 2006, the Court dismissed the charges, agreeing that the sexual act in question was consensual.
On 9 May 2009, Zuma was inaugurated as the third elected president of the Republic of South Africa. He continued into his second presidency term in 2014.
In 2012 television personality Bonang Matheba laid assault charges and filed a protection order against DJ Euphonik.
In September of 2012, Matheba dropped the charges.
In 2015 he took part in Marie Claire’s In Her Shoes gender based-violence campaign that saw men like Trevor Gumbi, Gareth Cliff, Maps Maponyane and Siv Ngesi wearing high heels to get a message across.
On 18 January 2016 rapper Brian Simiso “Okmalumkoolkat” Zwane was arrested in Tasmania, Australia for sexual misconduct. He pleaded guilty and served a month-long sentence in an Australian prison.
When rapper Aka came under fire for having Okmalumkoolkat design the artwork for his 2017 single Caiphus Song, he responded on Twitter saying, “I can’t speak for the guy but I think he’s being punished. Furthermore he didn’t RAPE anyone. He made a mistake. He still paying for it.
Since returning after his conviction Okmalumkoolkat has headlined at events including the South African Music Awards, Trace Fest, Riky Rick’s Cotton Fest, Smirnoff’s Zone1818 and Kasi Explosion.
His 2020 EP has received endorsements from Gagasi Fm, Slikour on Life, Shelflife.
Cell phone footage showed that while being the deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training in 2017, Mduduzi Manana assaulted a woman at Cubana in Fourways. After 2017 when he resigned from his ministerial post and received a R100 000 fine and a sentence of 500 hours of community service, Manana was charged for assaulting his then domestic worker in 2018. At the time of the second assault case, Manana was a member of parliament.A parliamentary committee investigated the allegations. While announcing the investigation on 9 May 2020, the then National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete added that Manana remained innocent until proven otherwise.
Although he stepped down as an MP, the state did not find him guilty of the second assault.Speaking on the investigation, the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane on 23 July 2018 said:
Speaking to broadcast newsroom Enca during the red carpet coverage leading up to the 2020 State of the Nation address, Manana referred to himself as a reformed perpetrator and believes that the country has forgiven him.
In August of 2018 Arthur Mafokate was acquitted of the assault charges that singer Busisiwe Thwala had against him. Thwala says the charges came after she suffered sexual, emotional and financial abuse at Mafokate’s hands.
Speaking to Sunday World after being acquitted, Mafokate said that he lost “contracts worth millions” and stopped releasing music, performing and producing music because he was deeply affected by Twala’s claim.
On 29 October 2019, house singer-songwriter Lady Zamar said she had been “abused (verbally and once sexually)” by hip-hop artist Sjava in the past. The Twitter thread, now removed from her account, was sparked by fans asking Lady Zamar about her relationship with Sjava following his sold out One Night with Sjava performance, two days prior.
On 14 November 2019 Sjava released what he called his “final statement on the matter” on Twitter saying:
In December of 2019 Sjava was a headline act AfroPunk, a festival which built its brands on a foundation that denounces sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, fatphobia and other forms of violence.
On 12 February 2019 the Cape Town International Jazz Festival announced its final line-up. Sjava was on the list.
On 1 March 2020 he sold out the second iteration of One Night with Sjava. The event, which took place at the Durban International Convention Centre, received backing from Gagasi Fm and SABC 1.
The next day Sunday World reported how Lady Zamara had opened a case against Sjava in November 2019. The report was based on confirmation from Limpopo police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo. Later on 2 March 2019 the CTIJF removed Sjava from its lineup saying:
On 27 August 2020 Sjava posted a 12 minute video to counter Lady Zamar's statements.
He said that is confuses him that she would say he raped her because they continued dating afterwards. It also shocked him that Lady Zamar is afraid of him.
Fans responded to his video with a #JusticeForSjava hashtag.
On the evening of 27 August 2020 Lady Zamar took to Instagram Live saying:
Tol Ass Mo
On 4 August 2020 actress and model Lerato Moloi released a statement saying retired comedian and television personality Mongezi ‘Tol Ass Mo’ Mahlangu sexually assaulted her in 2014 while she was working on a television production in Paarl, Western Cape.
After being quiet for six years, Moloi shared parts of her story on Twitter in June of 2020. She details the consequences of speaking out in the statement saying:
Although Mahlangu’s wife has declared her support for him, the comedian or his legal representatives are yet to make a public statement regarding Moloi’s claim.
However two weeks after Moloi’s statement was released, on 20 August 2020, television personality and actress Pearl Thusi took to social media to campaign for the upcoming season of her talk show, Behind The Story. Aired on BET Africa, one of Viacom’s subsidiary television channels, Behind The Story sees Thusi interviewing South Africa’s pop culture figures about personal matters that the show’s description refers to as “controversial”.
In a bid to promote her show, Thusi announced how this season will feature sit downs with Khanyi Mbau, Tolass Mo and Mome. The tweet, which has since been deleted, read as follows:
In response to the backlash, 24 August 2020, BET Africa released a statement on social media saying: