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Tuesday the 8th of March was the day Sinoxolo Mafevuka’s lifeless body was found in a communal toilet in Khayelitsha and the day a UCT student,was brutally attacked, assaulted and raped off campus near Rhodes Memorial.
Tuesday the 8th of March was International Woman’s Day, the day after the horrific murder of Franziska Blöchliger in Tokai Forest. It was also the day after rapper Okmalumkoolkat chose to release his apology letter, after having pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge and serving jail time in Austrailia.
Almost a week after his apology letter garnered thousands of shares, likes and comments, a copy of the letter appeared on my Facebook news feed that originated from Cape Town-based artist Lady Skollie’s (Laura Windvogel) personal Facebook profile.
Her copy made me do a double-take.
She’d highlighted all of personal pronouns that Okmalumkoolkat had used which, if you’re unsure of the context of his crime, does an awful lot to paint him as the victim.
She called it a #SorryNotSorry apology letter.
She was right on the money.
Now, the South African music scene isn’t very big, most of us know each other pretty well and if not, at least in passing.
I’ve met Simiso more than a few times and I’ve always found him to be one of the nicer musicians. So when the news broke of his arrest my initial reaction was, “Really? There’s no way he could’ve done that.” I had to check myself quickly – that’s the exact kind of thought that makes it hard for victims of sexual abuse to come forward, the exact kind of second-guessing I imagine every victim fears when they open up about their traumatising ordeal.
Not surprisingly, majority of Okmalumkoolkat’s fans who commented on his #SorryNotSorry apology letter on Facebook blindly accepted what he had to say – comments like, “Happy AF that you back” and “I still love and respect you”. My personal favourite, “I was mad coz I thought my role model broke his character, but after reading this I’m now wearing the hat of understanding.” What fresh fuckery is this? Have we forgotten that the man committed a crime??
I wish the rapper had engaged with his audience, his fanbase and made it abundantly clear that what he did was not on. That no man should ever think he has the right to put his hands on a woman when she’s clearly said, “NO.” Instead, he asked for space and privacy to move on and flushed his opportunity to make a real difference right down the toilet.
I cannot consciously support a musician that cares so little about a social issue of this magnitude, let alone the magnitude of his crime. Instead, I place my support behind Lady Skollie who is selling prints of her copy of the #SorryNotSorry apology letter at R400 each, with all of the takings going to Sunninghill’s Albertina Sisulu Rape Crisis Center.
If you would also like to purchase a print for R400 you can email Lady Skollie directly at (firstname.lastname@example.org).