News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
7 Aug 2018
9:44 am

Backlash over Manana speaking at gender-based violence event

Makhosandile Zulu

The former MP's foundation says the use of his image on a poster advertising a fundraiser for gender-based violence was insensitive.

Former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana leaves the Randburg Magistrates Court in Johannesburg on 13 November 2017. The former Deputy Minister was sentenced to 12 months in prison or a R100k fine after pleading guilty to the assault of 3 women at a club called Cubana. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Following a public backlash on social media against convicted woman beater Mduduzi Manana speaking at a fundraiser to fight gender-based violence, the former deputy minister of higher education has denied being a guest speaker at the event.

A poster emerged on social media stating Manana would be a guest speaker at a fundraiser for gender-based violence themed ‘Legends United Against Gender-Based Violence’.

In a statement issued through his foundation, the Mduduzi Manana Foundation, the former ANC MP said he would not be speaking at the event organised by Shevolution Africa.

“The foundation received an invitation addressed to the chairperson and inviting him to be part of a panel discussion on the ‘Practicalities of Ending Gender-Based Violence’ given his recent assault action and new commitments to fight against gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination against women,” the statement reads.

The former MP was convicted on intent to commit grievous bodily harm late last year and fined R100 000 for assaulting women at Cubana nightclub in Fourways, north of Johannesburg.

In the statement, the foundation said the invitation had been provisionally accepted and that the event organisers were advised that Manana would return to South Africa on the day of the event, Saturday, August 11.

“The organisation has noted the insensitive nature of the event poster carrying the face of the chairperson and further describing him as a legend. The assault conviction that involves the chairperson, for which he took full responsibility and showed remorse, is understandably still fresh in the minds of Many South Africans [more so during this month] and his total commitment to the fight against GBV [gender-based violence] is yet to be tested through his conduct and practical deeds,” the statement reads.

The foundation further said though the invitation to speak at the dinner had been an honour, it had not been aware that Manana’s image would be used on the poster, and had since advised the event organisers “to be sensitive to the public outcry and withdraw the event poster and any other material carry his face”.

However, The Star reported that though the event organisers noted the outrage about inviting Manana to the event, it had intended to have different voices, including those of victims and abusers, speak on the matter.

Shevolution Africa’s Dineo Mancotywa told the publication Manana would not speak at the dinner, but would rather be a panellist who would face 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”.

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