As a woman, one can only imagine what the freedom that comes with being a man must feel like, especially in the context of having your wrong doings swept under the carpet for fear of ruining your bright future and affecting your livelihood.
As things stand, the lives led by some of the world’s most successful men seem to be proof that as a man, you can rape, beat, steal, molest, even kill in some cases, or just be an awful human being in general and you will still get to live your life to it’s full potential.
Whenever you mess up, you do not need to worry or even face the consequences of your actions as you will have an army of defenders (both male and female) ready to remind people to focus on who you are and not what you’ve done.
Casey Affleck won an Oscar despite being embroiled in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Chris Brown is a multimillionaire with a thriving career despite having been convicted for beating his ex-girlfriend Rihanna and currently being involved in a legal battle with another ex, Karreuche Tran.
Donald Trump is President and so is Jacob Zuma. Their list of offences? Far too long for the purposes of this article.
OKmalumkoolkat (real name Smiso Zwane) lives his life normally, earning a living off his “art” and booking gigs where he will be surrounded by intoxicated women, even though he is a convicted sex offender. Yes, he served his time but do we have to forget about what he did and move on?
Absolutely not. We (the collective who refuse to skirt the issue at hand) are not saying he has to go back to jail, we just refuse to act like nothing happened because in doing so, we will continue to feed the monster that is rape culture.
Although City Press’ article on AKA and Koolkat’s most recent collaboration comes a day late and a dollar short, their headline is the perfect example of publications using the right words to refer to the subjects of their story.
AKA collaborates with convicted sex offender Okmalumkoolkat on new cover https://t.co/lvwaSmPuxs pic.twitter.com/vOqdOo28FZ— City Press Online (@City_Press)
In the headline, The City Press called Zwane a convicted sex offender and social media users immediately came to his defence, as they have done since news of his arrest broke on home soil.
@beyonka_fierce @City_Press just because his career is picking up your wana drag him down?! Nizphethe kabi— Jabu (@jabumonaheng)
@City_Press but "sex offender" is not necessary— mologadi kgasago (@mologadi91)
@City_Press "AKA collaborates with Gqi hitmake,Okmalumkoolkat" would've been so much better.— 💘Okuhle 💘 (@thandor_Madie)
Look at this #FakeNews @city_press tryna tarnish image of @Okmalumkoolkat by labeling him as convicted sex, mxm we kno u hate black success— Mandla Nhleko (@Mgilija5)
Which is where all of his defenders are wrong, what City Press did was necessary.
According to News 24 and official crime statistics spanning from April 1 to December 2016 presented to the police committee in Parliament earlier this year rape and related crimes stats are as follows.
- Between April 2016 and the end of December, 30 069 cases of rape were reported. This amounted to an average 110 rape cases reported a day. Although this has gone down from 32 161 in the previous year, it doesn’t necessarily mean less crimes are being perpetrated.
- There were 4 815 cases of sexual assault in the year under the spotlight, a decrease of only two cases from the previous year.
- While rape decreased by 0.7% in Gauteng, the province remained the highest contributor to this contact crime with more than 5 900 rapes reported in the nine months. We clearly live in a problematic country with a prevalent rape culture so a publication bringing this discussion to the fore is absolutely necessary. Smiso Zwane is not collateral damage, he is a default
symbol for the combination of male privilege, patriarchy and the power of celebrity in relation to the topic of rape. The minute you bring up the fact that any of these men have either beaten or sexually assaulted a woman, you are likely to be met with an avalanche of disagreement about how you are “handling the situation” as evidenced by the acerbic wit in the sarcastic tweets below.
@jabumonaheng @beyonka_fierce @City_Press "don't accuse men of sexual offenses. It will ruin their careers" pic.twitter.com/Ez4SpFcU2m— Frida Hendrix (@Eartha_Panther)
@City_Press People pressed b/c ya'll called a spade a spade. If he ain't a convicted sex offender what was he doing in jail? On vacation? pic.twitter.com/96AigUDKmU— Olorato 🔌 Mongale (@Olo_Mongale)
@City_Press Thank you for actually highlighting that fact that he's a CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER— Matteo Maniscalco (@MatteoArchetype)
You see, in the eyes of most people, if you call out offenders you are wrong for pointing out the offenses but the men in question can never be seen as wrong for committing those offenses.
Which is also why the Mail and Guardian’s article on Zwane is more palatable for the Koolkat supporters who acknowledge what he did. They can only admit to his faults when it comes with a side of praise. When the facts are laid bare, they are suddenly unable to process the information.
Based on their logic, you can call him a sex offender, just don’t forget to remind people that Gqi is a hot track - failing to realize that his music is not what we are discussing.
But the same logic does not apply to the likes of Nonhlanhla ‘Skolopad’ Qwabe, Bonang Matheba, Rihanna, Beyonce or even Angelina Jolie and all these women dared to do was be sexually liberated and go after what they wanted.
Despite these women’s monumental achievements, the same people who came to the defence of the men above will remain silent whenever these women are referred to as home wreckers, whores, immoral/loose women and a number of truly unnecessary adjectives.
For rape apologists, sexually assaulting, beating or injuring someone is not a big deal. Being a woman on the other hand and a liberated, free-thinking one at that? That is the biggest offense to all of creation.
Oh to be a man… How great it must be.
Main image credit: dailysun.co.za