Ayanda Sishi-Wigzell: Diddy, Grootman inflict colonial violence on Black women

Ayanda Sishi-Wigzell. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Ayanda Sishi-Wigzell. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Published May 24, 2024


There is a history as to why Black women are not believed. This is because women, in general, are not listened to, because in the hierarchy of the world, Black women fall to the bottom.

The old colonial system still keeps its insidious grip on the minds of many men all over the globe as they all try to claw their way to the top like their old colonial masters.

This can be explained through the idea of intersectionality, coined by Kimberlee Crenshaw, which says that Black women have intersecting identities which make it harder for us to exist in this world because we are divided by race, gender and class.

This means that we are overlooked and not protected. We are not seen as people, and so we are dispensable. We are objectified as assets to be hoarded, like slave chattel we are met with anger when we try to leave, like Casandra Cassie Ventura trying to leave Sean Diddy Combs in that horrific video, which showed her being violently assaulted by her intimate partner.

Cassie’s defamation, painful vindication

When Cassie, in December last year decided to sue her ex-boyfriend, Combs, for egregious acts of sexual abuse and violence and also human trafficking. Combs’s lawyer Ben Brafman vehemently denied the abuse allegations calling them “offensive and outrageous”.

Two days later, Combs settled the lawsuit with Cassie. What strikes me as insidious was that Combs’s lawyer not only vehemently denied the allegations, but he also said “Ms Ventura’s demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail.”

Finally, we know that she was telling a painful truth.

Gcinile is the victim

Two days later, South Africa was hit with yet another wave of gender-based violence. Gcinile Twala is a recent victim of revenge porn after there was a sex tape with her allegedly being released without her consent.

We don’t need the details of her private life to know that there has been a gross violation of privacy and a crime has been committed. There is no direct link to the sex tape being released by her ex- boyfriend Themba “Grootman” Selahle but there are text messages seen on social media directed towards Twala, which are abusive in nature sent by Selahle.

Revenge porn is illegal under the Cybercrimes Act. Distributing such content is deemed illegal and one could face prosecution, but many do not seem to understand this, as evidenced by the thousands that distributed the video online.

Political immunity against GBV?

Gender-based violence is a crime, but it comes as no surprise that it is still not taken seriously, because society has yet to fully deal with (let alone fully understand) the painful colonial scars at the root of the issue.

Political parties during this election have treated this sensitive topic as a caveat in a long list of empty promises and weak policies in the manifestos. We are told that there is zero tolerance, but there are still far too many people who are getting away with the crime of gender-based violence.

There was video evidence of Mduduzi Manana physically assaulting two women at a nightclub. Yet, the ANC continues to have Mduduzi Manana amongst their ranks, proudly. He apologised and paid a fine of R100,000. He still enjoys employment at Luthuli House.

We are the country that voted in Jacob Zuma after he was involved in a rape trial.

We are reminded that we are not safe every day when we pick up our devices and read the news to see how many women have been killed.

We saw the absolute vitriol and hatred that Amber Heard received during the trial involving Johnny Depp, her ex-partner. That kind of response that Amber Heard received could convince other women not to speak out.

What we are seeing here, with abusers doubling down, is a pushback against the #MeToo movement which saw the likes of Harvey Weinstein finally going to jail for his crimes. This is an issue that Black women in particular have a serious problem with.

We are simply not believed when we speak our truth. If celebrities and powerful women are not treated with respect and consideration, how much worse is it for the women of the rest of the world?

This is how R Kelly got away with abusing young Black girls for most of his career.

We all saw the video stills of the late Anele Tembe as her door was being broken down by her ex-boyfriend Keiran Forbes, otherwise known as AKA. He apologised and there was no further cause for justice to prevail. We know how that ended. And now Sean Combs has apologised from his tropical abode, safe from the long arm of the law.

And just like every narcissist that has been caught in 360p quality, he has read from the Harvey Weinstein script of taking no accountability because he does not care. It is up to everyone trying to build a modern world, free from the shackles and abuses of colonialism, to make abusers take accountability.

*Ayanda Sishi-Wigzell is a social & political commentator, and a radio host.

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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