Mandla Mandela salutes sister for speaking out about rape by ex-lover

Mandla Mandela

Cape Town — Traditional chief and MP Mandla Mandela has applauded his sister Ndileka for disclosing that she had been raped by an ex-boyfriend five years ago, and he also saluted the #MeToo campaign that helped her speak out.

“If it is possible for [Ndileka Mandela] to be sexually assaulted and feel compelled to keep silent for five years then we live in a very sick society and must ask ourselves, how many thousands more have fallen victim to this crime of power,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Ndileka Mandela revealed that an ex-boyfriend had raped her at home five years ago. She is in a loving relationship now, but wanted people to know that acquaintance rape is real, in spite of many people thinking rape between partners is not possible.

Mandla Mandela said that she may have drawn on her famous grandfather’s example when he spoke out about his (Mandla’s) father Makgatho Mandela’s battle with HIV/Aids. Makgatho Mandela died in 2005 and Madiba’s openness about his condition helped break the stigma surrounding it.

Mandla Mandela noted that rape was not a new phenomenon in society and was well documented in history as a crime that could ruin lives.

“We know that rape occurs largely in the narrow confines of the home or familiar surroundings and is often perpetrated by people well known to the victim. We must break the silence and tell the cowards that we will not be passive bystanders and, as with our struggle against apartheid, we shall overcome.”

He said he believed the #MeToo campaign had given people the power to tell their suppressed stories, after being sworn to secrecy or fearing ostracism.

He also called on the ministers of police and social development to launch the biggest ever “16 days of activism campaign against violence and abuse of women and children” this year.

“I salute you Madlomo, for giving power back to that little girl in the village who has been hiding in shame and silence; I salute you Nkosazana for giving a voice to the grannies in the location to also break the shackle of gripping fear and humiliation; I salute you my sister for the courage you are giving to the many men who fall victim to rape in our jails; I salute you for saying #MeToo – our voices will be silenced no more!” — Sapa

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