1,000 signatures reached
To: The South African Broadcasting Corporation
Dismiss Tshathugodo for Rape Culture Comments
This campaign has ended.
We, the concerned people whose signatures are appended below, hereby call upon the South African Broadcasting Corporation (the SABC), to immediately dismiss Ukhozi FM radio presenter Khathide Ngobe, otherwise known as Tshathugodo or 'Tshatha'.
Why is this important?
We make this call following Tshatha's appalling comments which were rape justifying, violent and wholly unacceptable in a society that claims to care about the equality, dignity and freedom of womxn. Written on his Facebook page on the 21st February 2017, and posted with a photo of two young womxn wearing what he identifies as clothes revealing their thighs. Find below a loose translation of his comment;
"In the end people will say men are dogs despite that they are provoked by these legs (very loose translation). What women need to know is that when they're dressed like this men salivate and think of the bed (meaning sex). If you think that a man will think of marriage you'll never see that happening. These women are beautiful but the way they're dressed takes away their dignity."
Tshatha's comments, which are reproduced verbatim above, briefly suggest that: (a) we should not crucify men who sexualise and violate womxn who wear clothes that show their thighs; (b) the sexualisation and violation of such womxn is justified because womxn should dress in a 'respectful manner' as no man would think about marrying them.
Tshatha's comments must be understood in the context of the broader problem of rape culture in South Afrika. One in three womxn get raped every day in the country, and womxn are victims of daily sexual violence from men. Behind this scourge is culture of rape which manifests itself in (a) the entitlement that men like Tshatha have to women's bodies, and to dictating what womxn should and should not wear, (b) the blaming and shaming of rape victims based on the type of clothing they were wearing; and (c) the suggestion that rape is not caused by men's violence and lack of self-control but by womxn themselves because of how they dress. It is wholly unacceptable for public figures like Tshatha, fully aware of the scourge of rape in South Afrika and with access to millions of people, to make comments which justify and perpetuate this line of thinking.
We note that the SABC has not released any statement to address this issue publicly. And that individual responses to emails suggest that the issue has not been taken seriously in response to the public outcry. The meek apology that Tshatha has published on his Facebook page since does not deal with the issue.
● None of them actually address the sexism in Tshatha's comments, and their indubitable effect in perpetuating rape culture.
● The response to an emailed complaint about this matter (which we have in our possession from the SABC) suggests that the comments were okay because they were Tshatha's 'personal opinions', and indicates that they would not have been a problem had these statements not 'implicated the mother brand'. We find it insensitive and distasteful that the SABC is more concerned about its brand than the dignity of womxn.
● Both the email response and Tshatha's meek apology suggest that the problem was not the substance of Tshatha's rape justifying comments but the wording he chose to make them.
● Tshatha's meek apology shows no honest regret over his statements but is merely concerned with apologising to those who were offended by his comments. It is clear that he otherwise still stands by his comments, and this is evidenced by the fact that he has not bothered to remove them.
● It is not clear what disciplinary measures the SABC has taken - particularly considering that Tshatha is a serial offender who has made numerous similar statements in the past. A quick perusal of his social media pages reveals a plethora of sexist, homophobic, transphobic and other discriminatory statements which make us wonder how Tshatha is still under the SABC's employ unless it associates with and approves it his bigotry.
We draw the SABC's attention to its position as a public broadcaster, and to the fact that it is bound by the democratic values of equality and dignity expressed both in the Constitution, and the Broadcasting Act under which the SABC was established. We find the views of Tshatha, whose salary is paid by the same public which he has disrespected, inimical to these values, and in diametric opposition to the spirit, objects and purpose of of the SABC's mission. While we respect Tshatha's right to freedom of expression, we submit that this right is limited by the rights of others and does not extend to violence against womxn.
We therefore call upon the SABC to immediately dismiss Tshatha from its employ, and to send a message that violence against womxn is not going to be tolerated.
We further call upon all people to sign and widely distribute this petition, and to reaffirm our collective commitment to the dignity and freedom of womxn.
Izwe Lethu! ✋