As 16 Days of Activism kicked off in South Africa, musician-turned-preacher Kabelo Mabalane found himself trending in South Africa. This is due to his inclusion in a recent anti-GBV campaign sponsored by Carling Black Label.
Last week, Mabalane participated in an event unveiling a symbolic bridal gown covered in armour that would hypothetically protect a woman from the most common forms of abuse South African women are subjected to.
During the event, he was also part of a panel discussion alongside Musa Mthombeni (the event MC), Liesl Laurie, Lerato Makheta and his wife Petula.
On that panel discussion, Mabalane spoke from his perspective as a husband who previously abused a former romantic partner.
The former romantic partner in question is rumoured to be model-turned-entrepreneur and communications specialist Noni Gasa.
Rumours of Kabelo’s alleged abuse of Noni are reported as fact, although, based on publically available records, neither of them has confirmed this incident by naming the other.
Kabelo, however, recently confirmed his status as a former perpetrator in a post about the launch of the #NoExcuse campaign – a campaign he describes as one “that vehemently condemns intimate partner violence”.
“As a young man, I too was a perpetrator of this shameful cowardly behaviour. The shame and the embarrassment made me shy away from these spaces and I’ve since learned that as important as it is to take full responsibility for this reprehensible unacceptable behaviour, I am also now at a place where I appreciate the importance of lending my voice to fighting this pandemic,” wrote Kabelo.
“To the perpetrators there is hope and there is healing. Don’t be afraid to get help,” he concluded.
Anti-GBV activists Rosie Motene, Penny Lebyane, Refilwe Kumalo and others led the charge on Thursday morning with Twitter Spaces unpacking his inclusion in the campaign and why this may or may not be considered problematic.
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Ntsiki and Nota Baloyi did the same and also included the topic of Unathi Nkayi allegedly claiming to have felt verbally abused during an argument with her former colleague Sizwe Dhlomo.
The conversations concluded with a callout of Black Label and a condemnation of the celebrities and influencers involved in the panel and event.
The Citizen reached out to the #NoExcuse team and Carling Black Label for a statement on the matter.
Late Friday afternoon Carling Black Label confirmed that they are aware of the concerns raised around one of their campaign voices, and that they “appreciate the honest conversations that have been raised about GBV through his story.”
They also stressed that the #NoExcuse campaign was launched in 2017 to highlight the brand’s position as a beacon of positive masculinity and the importance of empowering South African men to meaningfully impact and improve society.
“The ultimate solution for ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is to prevent it from happening in the first place and that is what our focus is. One of the movement’s objectives is to drive awareness and provide tools for communities to take constructive action to drive change, as well as to create spaces to engage in conversations about GBV,” the statement read.
Carling Black Label says that numerous influential personalities have joined the movement over the last 5 years and have added their voices to saying that there is #NoExcuse for Abuse.
“Each of these personalities represent a different viewpoint and each have a unique journey leading to a distinctive perspective. Having all the viewpoints represented is critical to having a robust conversation and to giving hope to as many people as possible,” the company said.