Babes Wodumo actions a 'setback'
If Babes Wodumo goes ahead and drops assault charges against musician Mampintsha, her actions might have far-reaching effects on the fight against women abuse, gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha has warned.
Botha was reacting to weekend reports suggesting that Babes, real name Bongekile Simelane, was planning to drop assault charges against Mampintsha when he returns to court on Wednesday.
"As a male person working with perpetrators of violence, I would like to say while one has to respect her right to have her own views, the sad thing about such actions is that they take back the fight against gender-based violence in the country," he said.
"It brings some doubt in some circles, that this is what women do. They will always be finger pointing, that she's not serious and has been frivolous about it."
Weekend reports suggested that Babes and Mampintsha, real name Mandla Maphumulo, were back together.
They have also recently worked on Mampintsha's new music video together, sparking a public outcry.
Neither Babes, Mampintsha, nor their managers could be reached for comment yesterday.
Botha said he was against society victim-shaming Babes.
"One of the things we have to do as South Africans is to put ourselves in her shoes and understand where she is coming from," he said.
"The support she needs from us is not to lambast and vilify her," Botha said.
The #TotalShutdown movement has pledged its support for the gqom firecracker. Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, spokesperson Lesley Ncube reiterated that cases of survivors going back to their abusers were very common.
Ncube also slammed people that have been victim-shaming Babes.
"It doesn't negate or take away from the fact that Mampintsha is abusive. We all know that on average, a woman will try to leave an abusive relationship seven times before she eventually leaves for good," Ncube pointed out.
"A lot of things happen during the period of wanting to forgive, move on and wanting to hold your abuser responsible. I don't think it's fair for society to continuously badger and shame Babes for possibly wanting to drop charges or wanting to make music with Mampintsha still.
"There is a lot of psychological and emotional trauma that comes with being in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, one of them is wanting to forgive and reconcile with your abuser," Ncube said.
He said even if Babes dropped the charges, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should still continue with the case.
"At the end of the day it's a violation of someone's right. It's a criminal offence to assault someone," she said.
KwaZulu-Natal NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said the NPA had not been notified of any intention by Babes to withdraw the charges against Mampintsha.
"We haven't heard anything to that effect. The matter is set down for this week in the Pinetown magistrate's court. Once we get to court, we will hear that intention, but as far as we are concerned nothing has come to our attention."
Asked if the NPA would still move forward with the case if Babes wanted to drop the charges, Ramkisson-Kara said: "One will have to see what the matters of the case are. It depends on the charges, the severity of the charges, etc. So ideally I will hate to comment until we see [if] there is [a] case or not," she said.