Prominent South Africans from all walks of life have stood as one to denounce the gang-rape of a 17-year-old girl, and the sending out of the video, that has enraged the nation.
The rape of the girl, who is believed to be mentally challenged, was filmed on a cellphone, and passed around.
Musicians, actors, politicians and activists on Wednesday described their shock and anger at the heinous act.
Durban actress Jailoshini Naidoo said that the whole episode had made her feel sick to her stomach. “Young people are the future of this country, yet they have perpetrated such a serious crime. What does that mean for our future?”
She said that the act of rape was barbaric enough... but filming it and then distributing... trivialised her suffering.”
She blamed the social media to a certain extent, where young people often posted videos of themselves having sex, or striking lewd poses – and were encouraged to do that by their peers.
Anglican Bishop of KZN Rubin Phillip said when he first heard about the incident he was angry and is still angry.
“It is shocking that young, vulnerable people in our country can be treated in such a manner. It seems to be a real challenge for government and the people of this country to work towards a society where young people are protected against such evil acts.
“How can we claim to be a country that is succeeding when incidents like this are taking place? The success of a nation is not only about the economy but about the treatment of people, especially women and children.”
Local women’s rights activist Anshu Padayachee described the culture of violence pervading the youth as shocking: “What is our country doing about it? Education and social development structures have a key role to play. The gravity of this offence really bothers me. Also, this is not the first time something like this has happened. It is ongoing. Action has to be taken. Is this the future generation that we are grooming? Is this where our country is heading?
Musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka said: “I’m very sad. It’s outrageous. I’m very upset and disgusted. Dobsonville is my home town. I don’t know what’s happening...”
Soccer legend Marks Maponyane: “This is not good news at all. Rape is a big no-no and we don’t need such people in our society.”
Fellow football ace Doctor Khumalo was in shock: “You ask yourself: ‘Where did we go wrong? What is it we are no longer doing to keep our children on the straight and narrow?’.”
Outspoken South African comedian John Vlismas said the act was a symptom of greater societal ills.
“I believe that the solution lies not with society, but with individuals; people as a group find an average in terms of standards of behaviour, but we need high standards... People who had a hand in spreading (the video) need to be punished too,” he said.
He said it was also important to remember that putting such young boys in prison where they would be abused, would just be a perpetuation of the cycle of violence.
“They would come out hardened criminals. What would that achieve?”
He said it was not just traditional values that would help change attitudes, but use of individual reason and conscience.
eThekwini council speaker Logie Naidoo said that a possible solution for the blatant disregard for human rights, lay in the re-visiting of old values.
“The act was dastardly and abhorrent – we have to change what we are doing, to try and change the behaviour.”
He said that the use of technology to film and distribute such abuses, made the act even worse.
“I’m sure that even many of their parents would be shocked by what they’ve done: now they’ve shared it with the world,” he said.
Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli: “To think that perpetrators filmed this evil deed… They should face the firing squad because the death penalty will take too long. Even animals don’t do this to each other.”
Actress Lilian Dube: “It’s terrible. It’s ugly. It’s scary… I come across this everyday. I’m sure it’s got to do with drugs because a normal person would not rape.”
Musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse: “What a sad story! What kind of country are we living in?”
Singer Loyiso Bala: “When kids beat up other kids in school and they videoed it, we used to laugh at it. But with this, we are all absolutely shocked.
“When we let the small things slide, they grow into this.”
Musician Ray Phiri: “We have become a society without conscience. Our social fibre has been torn. We have become culturally bankrupt. We are not developing as people.
“When last did you hear someone say a child belongs to the whole village? The government should start thinking about how best this society can develop.”
DA leader Helen Zille said: “We cannot allow ourselves to be desensitised to these horrific deeds – no matter how often terrible crimes are committed in South Africa. One feels for this rape survivor and her family as they somehow try to rebuild their lives.”
Politician Patricia de Lille was outraged.
“The first thought that came to me was about the moral fabric of our society. If children are raping children, then something is desperately wrong. And then circulating it on social media – did they get some kick out of this without realising that something is wrong? It’s a sick society,” she said.
Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana: “This despicable crime does not belong to our free and democratic society.
“We must all spare a thought for this young girl who has been violated in such a cruel and inhuman way.”