Simphiwe Dana. Picture: Supplied
Simphiwe Dana. Picture: Supplied

Simphiwe Dana: ‘Growing up sexual assault was seen as some sort of game'

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Jun 12, 2020

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Afro-soul singer Simphiwe Dana spoke out about the “ukuthwala”, another form of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa. 

"Ukuthwala" is the practice of abducting under-aged girls and forcing them into marriages, usually with older boys or men.

This is common practise in rural areas in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. 

These type of marriages or "ukuthwala" are often done without the parents’ consent. 

In a Twitter thread on Friday, the Eastern Cape-born star detailed her own experience growing up in a rural area where this is a norm.

She said:” I don’t know about you. But growing up in the village, sexual assault was seen as some sort of game."

She continued: “A boy would chase you and if they caught you it was your fault you couldn’t getaway. While chasing you he would be laughing. As he would in a game. While you were terrified. The more terror, the more joy he would derive from it.”

A boy would chase you and if they caught you it was your fault you couldn’t get away.

— #BamakoIsHere (@simphiwedana) June 12, 2020

While chasing you he would be laughing. As he would in a game. While you were terrified. The more terror the more joy he would derive from it

— #BamakoIsHere (@simphiwedana) June 12, 2020

She added that sometimes the young girl is too afraid to report these incidents to their parents.

“You would report it to your older brother. He would laugh but perhaps you’d be lucky enough if he knocked some sense into that boy, “ she added.

For many years, Dana has been raising awareness around GBV. 

She said: “I put it to you that the increase in femicide is because men don’t understand why we won’t take their assault on our bodies quietly. We dare claim our bodies, that our lives are ours. It goes against the nature they’re socialized to.”

I put it to you that the increase in femicide is because men don’t understand why we won’t take their assault on our bodies quietly. We dare claim our bodies, that our lives are ours. It goes against the nature they’re socialized to

— #BamakoIsHere (@simphiwedana) June 12, 2020

Speaking heavily against this practice, the multi-award-winning added: “It is the culture that produces these men. They are not broken. They are entitled to our lives.”

It is the culture that produces these men. They are not broken. They are entitled to our lives

— #BamakoIsHere (@simphiwedana) June 12, 2020

Many shared Dana’s sentiments and some posted their painful experiences on Twitter.

I remember the day i arrived at home for holidays. We chased these 2 guys as I thought they were robbing her (kasi mentality), later told kukutwala. Still hate the husband. I was 10

— lwaz (@LwaizakaM) June 12, 2020

A friend from Mahalapye shared a sad story about they were raped (almost every day) enroute home from school. It was like producing a passport and after the sex you were allowed to pass. 😭😭😭💔💔💔

— @Miss Cooperation🇱🇸🇿🇦 (@CooperationMiss) June 12, 2020

I've personally multiple times seen how men feel a sense of ownership after paying lobola. The higher the lobola, the more entitled they feel. It also transfuse to the uncles they they now own a makoti. People may put it anyway they like, but thats the truth in the village.

— kepler (@Scotts1026) June 12, 2020

This comes after deaths of Tshegofatso Pule and Naledi Phangindawo, who were allegedly murdered by their partners.

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