Mafokate, 56, said he was invited by the government to participate in Tuesday’s march in Pretoria, aimed at highlighting the voice of men in ending the scourge of violence against women and children, which also served as an invitation to all men and boys to respond to the “Send Me - Thuma Mina” call and take a stand against femicide.
He released a statement to say he was not going to participate due to “opposition and threats” to his and his family’s lives.
Mafokate said: “I have decided to no longer participate in the #100MenMarch to which I was invited to participate through RiSA, Samro and SAACYF, due to the opposition I have received, as well as threats against me and my family.”
The Star called Mafokate to get clarity on the type of threats he received, and in response via text message he said: “Threats to do physical harm were made to me and some members of my family, including colleagues.”
But he said he remained resolute in his support of women and children and all activities to combat gender violence and abuse.
“I was saddened by the fact that as my matter is in the courts, we should allow the law to run its course. It’s depressing to be humiliated when one thinks you are doing the right thing. I have always been part of such campaigns before. It was not even about being an ambassador, it was for a great cause for the country,” he said.
The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), however, disputed this, saying Mafokate was not invited to be part of the #100MenMarch.
“GCIS has not appointed him as an ambassador of the march, and we strongly condemn any mischievous association of Mafokate with the march,” it said.
#NotInMyNameSA secretary-general Themba Masango said Mafokate’s attempt to join the march was disingenuous.
Masango believed that the kwaito producer was not invited to the event, but had imposed himself.
“We definitely know that this is not from a genuine position. It was all a PR stunt, because of his current trial that is going on, masquerading as a champion against gender-based violence.
“But I am glad that South Africans saw right through that, and we as #NotInMyNameSA made it clear that he was not welcome,” he said.
The award-winning kwaito star faces assault allegations made by his ex-lover Busiswe “Cici” Twala, who said in court that Mafokate dragged her alongside his car. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and his trial was due to continue today in the Midrand Magistrate’s Court.
According to Masango, the singer was “getting stronger by the day”, and she was “deeply hurt that he (Mafokate) could use such a platform to advance his sinister plans by trying to get out of facing the law,” said Masango.
“This was just a slap in the face to the other, genuine activists who are trying to pay attention to the plight of women. As you know, South Africa has a femicide rate that is five times higher than anywhere else in the world,” said the #NotInMyNameSA secretary-general.
Twala took to Twitter and reminded Mafokate that she underwent a pelvic replacement operation and physiotherapy to help her regain her mobility.
“Dear @Arthurmafokate - Sir, how do you maintain you’re not guilty when these are the screws I have as a result of what you did to me. @GCISMedia @NotInMyNameSA - “Where was the constitution when you violated me?” she tweeted.
The Star made several attempts to call Twala but her phone went to voicemail.
The #NotInMyName organisation said it did not want to take away from individuals or abuse offenders who genuinely turned over a new leaf and wanted to attend marches such as the #100MenMarch.
Masango added that Mafokate’s attempts to hijack the cause had failed, as it was announced yesterday that the music producer had been axed from his position as a non-executive board member of the SA Music Rights Organisation (Samro).
Samro spokesperson Andile Ndlovu said they strongly and unequivocally condemned any violence, and especially violence perpetrated against women.
“This is something each member of our organisation, including the board, is aware of. Thus, it was unanimously agreed that the ongoing court case involving Mr Mafokate and Ms Busisiwe Twala has continued to attract undesirable, and quite frankly worrying, publicity, which has also caused serious harm to the public perception of the organisation,” said Ndlovu.
Samro board member Jerry Mnisi said: “As a responsible corporate citizen operating in South Africa, where violence generally, and gender-based violence specifically, is pandemic, Samro cannot be unresponsive in this matter, which not only represents a severe social challenge in the country, but also continues to erode the reputation and standing of our brand.”