In South Africa a daily average of 360 incidents of physical and sexual abuse of women are recorded. Sadly, the numbers keep growing during the current countrywide lockdown.
Following a report that gender-based violence cases have rapidly increased in the 21-day lockdown, police minister Bheki Cele urged victims to make use of the designated hotlines for such cases.
Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi is among the voices that have been heard expressing dismay: “We are in the middle of a war with this horrible virus that’s threatening mankind kodwa [but] we still have to stop and plead with you to act right!” she tweeted.
Speaking out against gender-based violence can be risky. But realising that it could save lives and persuade other victims to speak their truth, some SA celebrities have used their platforms to address the crisis.
Earlier this year legendary singer Simphiwe Dana slammed the justice system for threatening to arrest her after her ex-fiancé, Lesotho Itsweng, laid counter charges against her. Simphiwe handed herself over to the police after reporting an alleged assault. She revealed this in a series of tweets, since deleted, but she continues to fight for justice.
Singer Kelly Khumalo allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of rapper and media personality Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye in 2014. The singer has been vocal about the incident and has shared candid images, widely circulated on the internet, to substantiate her claims.
Letoya Makhene might have found her companion, but her path to love hasn’t always been rosey. The actress alleged in an interview published in True Love magazine’s April 2015 issue that she’d been abused by ex-husband, Privilege Mangezi.
You can help protect and save the life of a loved one or stranger by sharing the SAPS number dedicated to cases of abuse: 0800-428-428.