Johannesburg - Organisers of the #TotalShutDown marches have expressed outrage at an invitation to convicted rapist and kwaito star Sipho “Brickz” Ndlovu to perform at Friday night’s Mzansi Kwaito & House Music Awards nomination ceremony.
“It’s spitting in the faces of the women of South Africa,” said Roneill Hunter, an organiser of the protest that led to Wednesday’s mass demonstrations to highlight the abuse of women and children.
On Friday, the chief executive of the awards, Perfecta Khumalo, caused a social media uproar when she confirmed to eNCA that Ndlovu would be performing at the nomination ceremony at the Soweto Theatre.
The invitation, Hunter said, undermined the strides made to highlight the plight of women and children.
“We don’t support the continued social capital being afforded to men who are known for a fact to be involved in patriarchal violence. Social capital is a tricky thing. It can be manipulated to entrench existing violence.”
The music awards body approached Brickz to perform in lieu of a missed 2016 gig, Khumalo told broadcaster eNCA in an interview.
She said the musician could not perform at the initial booking as he was in prison. Khumalo appealed to South Africans to leave it to the justice system to deal with Brickz instead of judging him. “Brickz is performing. Brickz is talented.”
Thulani Malinga, the head organiser of the music awards, told the Saturday Star the invitation was not meant to undermine endeavours for advocacy and progressive messaging on issues of gender-based violence.
“Our CEO is a woman and she really supports women empowerment initiatives. We do not condone abuse of women and children. We’ve been consistently stating that Brickz owed us. Brickz is a kwaito artist and this is pure business. Unfortunately we don’t have control over people’s opinions and thoughts.”
The disgraced musician was found guilty of rape earlier this year. He is currently on bail of R80 000 for raping his then 15-year-old orphaned niece at his home in Ruimsig, west of Johannesburg, in 2013.
Malinga reasoned that Ndlovu was granted bail and that they did not ask the state to release him especially to perform at the nominations ceremony.
Ndlovu is appealing his 15-year jail sentence.
On Friday, Twitter users were up in arms over Khumalo’s interview, while others sympathised with Ndlovu.
@boyana_pumla said: “But if the verdict ‘Rapist’ is on appeal, for now Brickz is just an accused kwaito star who has to work until he is proven guilty. I don’t know about his case but @eNCA should not label him as such.”
@mogagabe_m stated: “Hardly a week since #TotalShutDown a convicted rapist Brickz is released to perform at the kwaito awards. Konje the industry doesn’t have victims of abuse neh! What a country we live in.”
Last month record company boss Arthur Mafokate was forced to pull out of a #100MenMarch organised by the government to highlight issues related to femicide.