NGO threatens to boycott anti-violence march if Arthur participates

Kwaito star Arthur Mafokate.
Kwaito star Arthur Mafokate.

The inclusion of kwaito star Arthur Mafokate in a march against the abuse of women and children has caused quite a stir, with organisations refusing to be part of it if he is involved.

Mafokate is facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm to musician Busisiwe “Cici” Twala.

#NotInMyNameSA, which aims to get men to speak out against gender-based violence, has refused to be part of a march against the abuse of women and children that will take place in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“We support the intentions of the march. We believe that there needs to be a platform for women to voice out their concerns and for men to advocate for women. We are behind the march but it is unfair for Arthur to be joining because he is facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. We are saying let him go through the whole process before including himself in such initiatives. It is a slap in the face for women,” said Themba Masango, speaking on behalf of #NotInMyNameSA.

“Arthur is not welcome at the #100MenMarch. We cannot endorse contradicting behaviour and march alongside perpetrators.”

Phumla Williams, acting director-general of the Government Communication and Information System, which was organising the march, said that Mofokate was not specifically invited but he had responded to the call.

“It is unfair [that Mafokate should not participate]. We sent out an invitation to all men. He was not invited, but is one of the men that will join. We received many people who said they will join. It is a national crisis, all people should come out. He is responding to the call but he will still face the charges,” said Williams.

Government Communication and Information System in partnership with business, labour, faith-based organisations and non-profit organisations is hosting the #100MenMarch to raise awareness on violence against women and children.

This is in the spirit of #ThumaMina, the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa that all citizens should take a stand to stop violence against women and children.

21-year-old Sithembile Dlamini*, who was gang raped in 2016, said such initiative made a difference because it would raise awareness on matters of abuse.

“It will make a difference because marches make people aware that there are people who survived these types of abuse to which other people turn a blind eye,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said that what happened to her had changed the way she looked at men.

She said: “It was not easy, I’d stay indoors. I could not sleep, I feared men. It felt like everyone could see what I have been through. I attended support classes and I [talked] to a therapist. They were a really great help.”

She sad that she was glad that justice was served in May this year. Two of the men who raped her were sentenced to 15 years in jail and the mastermind was given 20 years.

Activist John Molepo said the march was going to help the victims heal and get those who were silent about their abuse to speak out.

“Most are in abusive relationships but they are afraid to speak out or report it, so the march will ensure that people are made aware about these challenges in society,” said Molepo.

“I think society is not doing enough [to protect women and children]. I think we must intensify the awareness campaign to ensure that all men in our society know that no woman or child should suffer because of them,” he added.

The march will start at the corner of Kgosi Mampuru and Madiba streets at 10am and make its way to the Union Buildings.

Motorists have been warned to use alternative routes because the following intersections will be affected by the march: Khosi Mampuru Street, Sophie de Bruyn Street, Bosman Street, Paul Kruger Street, Lilian Ngoyi Street, Thabo Sehume Street, Sisulu Street, Du Toit Street, Nelson Mandela Drive, Steve Biko Street, Hamilton Street and Wessels Street.

* Not her real name.

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