Manana was included to get all sides‚ say hosts of gender-based violence event

Former Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana.
Former Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana.

Organisers of an event against gender-based violence said a decision to include former deputy education minister and convicted woman beater Mduduzi Manana in their fundraising programme was to include all voices in this debate.

Tickets range between R1‚000 and R5‚000‚ with the proceeds reported to go toward "Lion Mama and other development programs".

Lion Mama‚ as she has come to be known‚ is an Eastern Cape mother who admitted to stabbing her daughter's alleged rapists‚ killing one of them and injuring two others last year. She would be part of the event‚ organisers confirmed.

Shevolution organisers said the decision to include Manana was made after careful consideration of what objectives it sought to at its flagship programme. “We settled on a debate that incorporates the multiplicity of voices represented by victims themselves‚ the parents of victims‚ clergy‚ leaders from various social formations and those who have been involved in the abuse of women‚” Shevolution Africa said in a statement.

The organisation said Manana would not be a speaker at the event‚ but will participate in the panel discussion. “He will face some tough questions from people who have felt directly the pain [of gender-based violence] instead of him giving a speech without any dissenting voices responding.”

The organisation said it was not oblivious to the freshness of the wounds that the assault incident involving Manana caused to the national collective soul.

Shevolution Africa said it actively participated in programmes geared towards the reintegration of offenders into society‚ some of them having committed heinous crimes such as rape and murder.

“We have seen the healing of victims when they are given the opportunity to come face to face with the perpetrators and they can unleash all the pent-up emotion. A truly remorseful and reformed perpetrator turns to be the most therapeutic intervention in the victim's quest for closure.”

It said the objective of the event was to come out with practical measures that all citizens‚ in a country ravaged by an escalating scourge of femicide and other forms of gender-based violence can implement. “This objective‚ we strongly believe‚ will be better realised when we include the voices of those who have been perpetrators.”

It asked South Africans to grant Manana the space to be part of the solution. “May we take this opportunity to apologise to those who were offended by the event poster which obviously does not lend itself to carrying this explanatory statement.”

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