The Mercury

Prioritise victims in fight against GBV


THE battle against the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) will amount to nothing if police don’t properly investigat­e and arrest well-known and influentia­l perpetrato­rs who are accused of abusing their partners.

Allegation­s of GBV have been made against hip-hop artist Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, also known as AKA, and DJ Nkosinathi Maphumulo, who goes by the stage name Black Coffee.

Anele “Nelli” Tembe, AKA’s fiancée and daughter of Durban businessma­n Moses Tembe, died recently after she allegedly jumped to her death from the 10th floor of a Cape Town hotel. However, an online news website on Sunday told of a tumultuous relationsh­ip, in which Tembe was subjected to physical abuse – allegedly at the hands of AKA. The news organisati­on also published images which depicted an incident where AKA allegedly broke down a wooden door to enter a room that Tembe was in.

Black Coffee has been accused of assaulting his ex-wife, Mbali Enhle Mlotshwa, with the Rockville actress applying for a protection order. The matter is before court, after Mlotshwa laid assault charges against him.

While both men have issued statements denying any wrongdoing, the allegation­s against them are serious and must not be ignored. It should be noted that this is not an attempt to find them guilty in the court of public opinion, as both men deserve the opportunit­y to present their cases before a competent court of law.

However, as prominent personalit­ies in the entertainm­ent industry, a perception might be created that they are being treated with kid gloves because of their celebrity status. While the police have made it clear that AKA is not a suspect in Tembe’s death, if new evidence to the contrary is brought before them, they should not hesitate to take appropriat­e action. By the same token, Mlotshwa’s cry for help – including allegation­s that she was denied a protection order – should be properly investigat­ed. We remain confident that justice will prevail.

The fight against the abuse of women and children has to prioritise protecting the victims, to empower them to finally speak up against their abusers. For far too long, society has turned a blind eye to physical violence, perpetrate­d by powerful men. As society, we cannot ignore criminal acts because the culprits happen to be our favourite musicians or actors. A clear, unequivoca­l and unambiguou­s message needs to come out – that enough is enough.

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