For this letter, I would like to address you as Sis Zodwa. Not because I do not respect your stage name, but because I would like to, not only appeal to you as a woman but also as a mother.
On the 21st of August 2019, you were trending number one on Twitter due to a video that went viral. In this video, you were seen being grabbed very uncomfortably by a group of male supporters. Now, I am using the word ‘uncomfortable’ very carefully, because the act seemed to be more uncomfortable for some of us watching than it was for you.
The video I watched went on for 30 seconds while this group of ill-mannered boys shook your ass, groped and fingered you. You are heard telling a particular, or a group of fans that they will pee on themselves in Zulu. You subsequently told your fans that you are not leaving and are going to retreat to drink. All this while these bunch of boys continued to do as they pleased with your behind. Towards the end of the video you asked someone to come to take you, you slightly turned and the video ended. Now, I have no idea what happened after that, or what you said.
Based on the video, my heart was sore. It was sore because this video went on for 30 whole seconds and you said nothing Sis Zodwa. These boys put their hands in between your ass and you did not flinch. They groped you very disgustingly and you did not react.
I sat and watched Twitter waiting for a statement and I GOT ONE!
“They are my fans, there was no abuse whatsoever, and no harm was done.”
That is where you are wrong, Sis Zodwa.
There was a lot of harm done.
Thousands of men and women watched that video and read your response and a message was sent. What was the message?
‘If you are my supporter, you can touch me in any way you want to and get away with it’
As you released that statement, you spat in the face of the 1 in 4 women that are sexually assaulted and raped in this country.
See, I have a friend that was sexually assaulted when she was little. She grew up with so much resentment. She took that baggage into her adult life and it was disruptive. A lot of harm was done.
When you said ‘no harm was done’, you shifted the very narrative of the rape culture and told men that it is okay.
You’ve recently responded to a follower who criticized your behavior and its effects on your son.
You said “I don’t understand how they can tell me how to mother my own son. I think it’s ridiculous but I just thought I should let him [the follower] know that if he’s really serious, he must try and adopt my son and see if he’ll do a better job. My son is happy and taken care of, I don’t think anything else matters.”
Luckily, I am not keen on adopting your son and am very pleased to hear that he is happy. I am worried though. Worried about whether or not you are going to sit him down and explain to him that it is NOT okay to grab any human being like that unless he has a sexual relationship with them and she/he has given consent.
I wonder if you will explain the concept of consent to your son. Will you use your video as an example? Will you explain that by not telling them to bugger off and not grab you like that, you did not disapprove of their actions?
Are you going to proudly tell your son that you defended a group of wildlings that decided that it is okay to grope and finger you?
Your introduction into the entertainment industry came as a shock to me as a woman. But I soon adjusted and grew to understand what you represented.
The level of confidence you carry is admirable Sis Zodwa. You can wear whatever you like without fear of being judged, and not a lot of women have that.
You were making a silent statement that the way you dress is not an invitation for rape and abuse.
Remember how girls were getting insulted and beaten in Joburg CBD because of the way they dressed?
You came in and shut that rhetoric down!
You have been setting a precedent that your body is yours, so you can dress it and move it as you please, until that video.
Your body was yours alone until you gave it to a group of strange boys.
You continued to say ‘they can touch me if they want to’.
That was the nail in the coffin for me.
You will probably slam back to critics saying that young boys and girls must choose their role models. That it is not your responsibility to teach other people’s sons how to behave around women. The fact is that you are a public personality, and you had an amazing platform to represent the rights of women and teach boys how to behave.
You chose not to and that is my beef with your video.
You are Zodwa Wabantu, not Zodwa Wakhe. You chose to be of the people, and being of the people means you need to do and be better. If not for you, then for the people.
It’s too late to turn it around now. They have touched you and gotten away with it.
Karabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen. She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo.
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