By Phurah Jack
We live in a society where you are judged by how you respond to questions about women abuse and rape. Today it’s clear that anyone who wants to be the next president of the country does not need much of a campaign, they just need to revolve their talks around how President Jacob Zuma alone has allegedly looted from the state or bring up the Khwezi rape charges.
Our country is a country of people who forget too quickly. A country of people who, when they wake up to the reality of things, will find they have damaged everything in their wakeful sleep.
I partly agree with a Facebook post by Bongani Micheal, which says, “today to talk about Khwezi is as opportunistic as to talk about [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma] NDZ to be President”. However, there is a little thing he misses. There are those of us who don’t support NDZ purely because she is a woman, but because she pushes a political position which I, as a Black First Land First (BLF) member, fully supports. She supports a political program that calls for the return of stolen land to black people by white settlers. In this light, it is not correct to see our support of mother NDZ as an opportunistic move. It should rather be seen as a highly principled move based on land return and the call for radical economic transformation.
BLF is clear, we are happy to be seen as opportunistic in our moves if it’s linked in principle to land return.
On the other hand, you have a group of people like Radio702’s Redi Thlabi who uses Khwezi’s symbolism for opportunistic reasons to push her book sales. Thlabi does not support women who Khwezi’s symbolism represents – women who survive sexual assault and exploitation.
Where was Thlabi when Ramaphosa was exposed by Steve Motale on the Sunday Independent? Why did Radio702 never invite the Deputy President to come and comment on the allegations posed against him? Why didn’t Radio702 ask Ramaphosa how he feels about being considered the “number one blesser” or in politically correct terms, a sexual predator?
Ramaphosa shocked many when he said he believed President Jacob Zuma raped Khwezi. While some were pleased with his statement, some of us were not convinced by the ‘new’ Ramaphosa who, overnight, turned into Khwezi’s cadre. Ramaphosa, along with his allies, are using Khwezi’s name as an opportunistic and cheap politicking tool to boost Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign.
Within a patriarchal society, we must ask, how does any man talk negatively about President Zuma with a clean conscious? As men, have we not, directly or indirectly, supported and enabled gender based violence to thrive in society?
The silence of many activists in the country saddens me really. I ask myself, how can they keep mum at this crucial political juncture? Why is their rage so selective? Is their rage real if its selective rage that’s turned on and off depending on who commits the crime?
Not to sound biased but let’s wait for the day President Jacob Zuma says anything affirming towards black women. Those who are mum today about the sex predator and murderer, Ramaphosa, will be the first to rise up against President Zuma and quickly remind him of Khwezi. Today let’s deal with Deputy President Ramaphosa, a man who was exposed for his shenanigans on women abuse and no one says “it is triggering”. I am triggered by your silence.