An interview with the mother of child rapist Nicholas Ninow on SABC has caused widespread outrage.
In the interview, Chantelle Ninow takes partial responsibility for her son’s actions, admitting to having done drugs with him and saying that parents must remember their adult children are not their “friends”.
“I always carry that guilt. To think that my son is in jail… to think that that night I could’ve done something for him. But I didn’t. I can’t take it back – there’s nothing I can do, it is what it is,” she said.
“I would just like to urge all those young mommies, especially the young ones, that as they get older, the gap does close and they are not your friends, they are still your children.”
At one point, Chantelle also said that her oldest son, Nicholas, was “not a rapist”.
“He made a mistake. He just made a mistake.”
It is this part of the interview in particular which has caused outrage on social media, although some took exception to the fact that Ninow’s mother was given an interview at all, saying they found this disrespectful to the victim and her family.
Anger has been directed in particular to Chantelle’s interviewer, Chriselda Lewis, with some Twitter users saying they either had already or planned to lodge a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCSA).
In the interview, Chantelle apologised to her three children.
“I just want my family and my children to know that everything that has happened – that has been negative and bad, the pain that I caused them – I just want them to know I never meant to hurt any of them. I love my son – I love all three of them.”
She also attempted to justify his actions by bringing up his rough childhood and his own history of sexual abuse.
“He was physically and sexually abused as a child. His grandmother says [Nicholas] was always angry and as a child would beat his fist against the wall. He started using drugs at the age of 13 and would steal money from his grandmother to buy them,” she said.
Chantelle also offered an apology to the victim and her family.
“I am sorry to that little girl’s parents and that little girl. I really am sorry. If it was my child… I would be so angry. I know sorry doesn’t cut it… but there’s nothing else I can say… I am so sorry.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)