Arthur Mafokate, please don't join us, say gender activists

Arthur Mafokate.
Image: Webster Molaudi

Athur Mafokate remains defiant in the face of criticism against his participation at the 100MenMarch.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Mafokate said he will be attending the march with or without approval. ". as a responsible citizen of South Africa I will join in and will definitely be at the march, as for that statement from government, my lawyers will attend to it in a due course and thanks to all those that appreciate my move to join in the march and it's for a good cause."

Mafokate has become the elephant in the room as men line up to march against women and children abuse today. By yesterday afternoon, a few social activists had threatened to pull out of the #100MenMarch scheduled for today in Pretoria if the kwaito star takes part.

Mafokate stands accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend musician Busisiwe "Cici" Twala, and his case is being heard in the Midrand Magistrate's Court.

He has laid a countercharge of assault against Twala, also on trial at the same court.

The march is organised by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

Mafokate, a record label owner, set the cat among the pigeons on Sunday, when he excitedly announced his participation on social media through a story covered by a Sunday tabloid.

He said he will be taking part in the march to celebrate his birthday. "I'll rise against all odds to protect the vulnerable in our communities," he said. "As a law-abiding citizen of this country I'll celebrate my birthday with other men marching and then go and defend my case the next day in court," he was quoted as saying.

But social media user Nelly BFN posted: "These are the types of men who can kill a woman and say it was a mistake while he knows very well what he did. He wants public attention."

Yesterday, Archbishop Mbulelo Dyasi, national chairman of the SA Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids (Sanerela) wrote: "If Arthur Mafokate is leading 100 men march against GBV [gender-based violence] I'm not available. Please do not join the march. Conclude your case first and apologise to South Africans. We (Sanerela) don't hate you... but do the right thing. Just apologise first."

Actress Rosie Motene wrote: "I thought it was fake news! @arthurmafokate why do you think you have the right to attach your name to such a campaign?"

Politician and social activist Anele Mda said: "It is scandalous that @GCISMedia hosts known woman basher/abuser Arthur Mafokate under the banner of being 'good father to his children' yet #100MenMarch is allegedly being held to bring a STOP to women violence."

Gender activist and commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality Mbuyiselo Botha said the march should not send a "conflicted and confused" message to victims of abuse by including Mafokate.

"It would be prudent for Arthur to publicly apologise while his case continues and make certain commitments. He must condemn violence while we recognise that he's innocent until proven guilty."

GCIS spokeswoman Phumla Williams said they had not invited any individual personally and could not stop Mafokate from participating. "We have called all peace-loving men to come and make a commitment to say they will do whatever to stop violence against women and children. The fact that Arthur decided to join... doesn't exonerate him from facing the law."

The GCIS also released a statement saying: "[GCIS] would like to place it on record that it has not invited Mr Mafokate to be part of the #100MenMarch. GCIS has not appointed him as an ambassador and strongly condemns any mischievous association of the march with Mr Mafokate."

Mafokate said he was being "humiliated by my government".

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