Bongi Mlotshwa on gender-based violence: “Most of us have seen abuse and normalised it”

Bongi Mlotshwa took to Instagram to share her experience
Bongi Mlotshwa took to Instagram to share her experience
Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images

While the country was still reeling after the brutal murder of Tshegofatso Pule, who was eight months pregnant when her body was found hanging from a tree in Roodepoort, Philippi in Cape Town. She is but the latest high-profile victim of gender-based violence (GBV).

Her body was found on Saturday by a resident in Albert Luthuli Street in Browns Farm. Her clothes had reportedly been ripped off and stones were seen next to her body.

Read more: UPDATE | Man arrested after teen girl's naked body found lying in Cape Town street

The staggering amount of GBV cases in South Africa have left women across the country fearing for their lives, asking if they’re next. Now award-winning makeup artist Bongi Mlotshwa has decided to weigh in on the issue, sharing her own experiences.

Taking to Instagram, Bongi shared how when she was young GBV was so common-place, she had normalised it. This was because she herself grew up in a household where she saw her grandmother and mother being abused.

“This femicide situation that’s been happening is getting out of hand. Sadly, most of us think it’s a new thing, but it’s not. Most of us have seen abuse and normalised it. I’ve seen three generations of abuse,” she said.

Read more: Unathi speaks out about consent and the moment she felt violated by a man

"I’ve seen my grandmother and mother being emotionally abused, and I was emotionally abused, and have been in a relationship with someone who used to hit me,” Bongi said.

She explained that seeing her parents fight somehow made her think this was what relationships and love were supposed to be like, until she realised it shouldn’t be like that at all. She expressed how sad it is seeing another generation of women go through the same thing, which is why she’s encouraging mothers to talk to their children about the abuse they’ve endured.

“It seems like the cycle is going on and maybe we’re not doing a good job as parents, and society as a whole, but without shifting blame, we have a problem.”

Read more:  3 women violently killed in KZN

“I think as mothers we need to change the game because we are [the] ones who usually experience these things. We need to tell our girls that no one should beat them up, we need to tell them the truth about what we’ve been through and how it made us feel,” Bongi said.

See her post here:

View this post on Instagram

SENZENI NA ???????????????????????????????????????? #gbv

A post shared by Bongi Mlotshwa (@makeupgurubongi) on


Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the recent spate of gender-based violence incidents. This comes as the country mourns Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Nomfazi Gabada, Nwabisa Mgwandela, Altecia Kortjie, Lindelwa Peni and many other women who’ve died at the hands of men.