By Nonduduzo Kunene | 2019-03-22
FORMER Mbabane Mayor Thulani Mkhonto caused a stir on social media yesterday after posting provocative remarks that ‘rape should be enjoyable’.
The former mayor, who now works as a technician at Eswatini Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, hadposted ‘life is like being raped: if you can’t fight it, enjoy it’. To many Facebookers, the statement was insult ing and inconsiderate to those who suffered the act and consequences of rape. Mkhonto trended on social media for all the wrong reasons yesterday. An hour later, the former mayor posted another statement, apologising to the public, having deleted his previous statement.
However, his apology fell on deaf ears (or should we say eyes according to Facebook users) as users typed nonstop condemnation of his post. Many complained about the danger and threat that he allegedly put women under by suggesting they should enjoy rape if they cannot fight it as per his initial statement.
“To all Facebook users and Eswatini nation I will (sic) like to apologise for the recent post, especially rape victims and families. I have deleted my post and I am very, very sorry. Yes, I realised it sounds insensitive and inhumane. Liphandlwa libhekile, I am very sorry Maswati Lamahle ayidle itishiyele,” reads the post.
Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse Communication and Advocacy Officer Silindele Nxumalo said the former mayor’s post was not the first incident that has been seen degrading and putting women at risk
“This is not the first incidence we have seen on social media, much as we have the freedom of expression, we need to be careful of our actions and behaviour, as they may have major implications on the next person.
“This is a concerning a statement that needs to be viewed beyond what it seems to be. The poster needs to be further engaged to unearth the deep-rooted issues behind this statement. People should take cognisance in making such statements because they have traumatic psychological effects to the public and are insensitive towards survivors of rape,” she said.
Women in Law Communications Officer Zanele Vilakati said this kind of thinking would not attain the desired development and growth of the country.
“Let me start by saying that this comment is a very revolting one which shows how weak the perception of society is on key issues that hinder the success of the country.
“This comment shows how some people are insensitive and cannot appreciate the nature of rape as a gross violation of a person’s personal space and dignity. With such thinking, the country will not attain the desired developmental growth which comes with all people fighting against violence,” she said.
In a press statement issued by Eswatini Posts and Telecommunications Cooperation’s Corporate Affairs department they condemned the Facebook post by the employee. The company agreed that the post had an effect of belittling the impact of rape.
“EPTC notes with deep regret the publication of a Facebook post which was posted by a profile user who is an employee of the organisation. The post had the effect of belittling the impact of rape. The organisation strongly condemns any act of abuse against women, children and men.
“We denounce any act committed against members of all societies by taking advantage of their vulnerability. EPTC will continue to advocate for change of attitudes towards any act of violence against vulnerable persons,” reads the statement.
The corporation regretted the subsequent effect of the post and disassociated itself from the insensitive statement posted by Thulani Mkhonto, who is an employee of the organisation. Lastly, the organisation assured the public at large that the issue was dealt with internally.
Some of the Facebook comments
Facebook user 1 – The mistake you made was to talk about something you have no idea about. Noma kukhona lofuna kuku achiever. From where I am standing, you are apologising because someone told you to.
Facebook user 2 - Removing that post and apologising because it was up for over three hours. Your apology is not sincere, you knew what you were saying when you typed and posted and left it there.
Facebook user 3 - ucolisa nganike????
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