Hlaudi Motsoeneng must apologise to Vanessa Mutswari
23 June 2014
Hlaudi Motsoeneng must apologise for his offensive interpretation of the ritual where be believed Vanessa Mutswari was reportedly being "offered" to him as a wife in Limpopo.
Ms Mutswari and other members of the Mudzi we Vhurereli ha Vhavenda traditional lobby group yesterday clarified that she was never offered to Motsoeneng, and that she is in fact already engaged (see Daily Maverick report).
It is outrageous that Motsoeneng spoke to the national media, claiming that he had been offered a wife by the Venda people. It is highly offensive to Ms Mutswari and the Mudzi we Vhurereli ha Vhavenda group.
The patriarchal and sexist assumptions in Motsoeneng's actions and handling of this issue are deeply worrying. It should be inconceivable to Motsoeneng that a woman could be "offered" to him.
Reports suggest that Motsoeneng's actions have caused considerable pain in Ms Mutswari's personal life. His actions are also detrimental to the cause of women's rights and equality.
The idea that a woman can be "offered" for marriage as a commodity is fundamentally contradictory to the democratic values enshrined in our Constitution. Ms Mutswari has the right to love and be with whoever she wishes - and in fact she has already exercised that right by choosing to be engaged to someone else.
Motsoeneng's initial explanation that the ceremony was not serious does not wash. It was still offensive and damaging to Ms Mutswari and women in general.
He is a public figure, and must be careful to promote the democratic values of a society where everyone has equal rights and the freedom to make decisions for themselves.
Statement issued by Denise Robinson, DAWN Leader, June 23 2014
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