NJABULO BUTHELEZI, AKANI CHAUKE & TINTSWALO BALOYI
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE furore surrounding the alleged assault of a young South African woman by Zimbabwe First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has reignited debate around the subjugation of African cultures by the so-called Western civilisation.
Black South Africans interviewed by CAJ News Africa said while they did not condone the actions of President Robert Mugabe’s wife, she had to intervene as a worried parent after it was widely-reported her children were falling behind their studies because of alcohol abuse and partying.
The complainant, Gabriella Engels, is said to be a friend of Mugabe’s sons, Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine.
“Surely, as a parent, I would not accept my child, even when above 18 years to abandon books and start partying in hotels. I am of the opinion most parents out there, who are of good morale standing would concur with me,” Siduduzile Mbanjwa of KwaMashu in the conservative KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Province said.
Mkhokeli Majola, also of the same township, said sparing the rod to spoil the child, as advocated for by human rights proponents had derailed African traditions.
“While I don’t condone acts of violence, I however fully support the first lady’s (Grace Mugabe) actions of disciplining these wayward children. As a parent, I would not just fold my arms while watching children, who are supposed to be studying (students) wasting parents’ resources in alcohol,” Majola said.
Tsakani Masivamele in Alexandra in the Gauteng Province also jumped to the defence of Mrs Mugabe.
Alexandra is the impoverished township next to the affluent Sandton where the alleged incident between Mrs Mugabe and the complaint occurred.
“Her actions were purely African and correct,” she said.
Masivamele said the first lady was a victim of a smear campaign by detractors of her husband.
“Media must stop criticising merely because the world hates her husband (President Robert Mugabe). Put yourselves into her shoes and imagine your children supposed to be studying, yet spend the parents’ money of enticing women in hotels and lodges,” she said.
Masivamele said as a parent, she understood the first lady’s wrath.
“I know where Mrs Mugabe’s anger is coming from,” she said.
Mother-of-three Thandeka Sikhakhane also of Alexandra, said she could have acted the same way Mrs Mugabe did.
“Our country (South Africa) is increasingly losing morals due to the so-called human rights and rule of law. Even in the bible, God Himself, instructs parents to beat up such ill-disciplined children in a corrective manner,” Sikhakhane.
She said while Engels’ mother had publicly sought justice for her daughter, “deep down” she might not be condoning her daughter’s actions of “chasing men instead of doing her modelling.”
“Was she modelling in a hotel?” asked Sikhakhane.
She provided biblical backing, quoting Proverbs 23:13.
The verse reads, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.”
She claimed did not take offence when a neighbour once beat her children after they misbehaved.
“I fully support Mrs Grace Mugabe’s actions of disciplining these children,” she said.
She pointed out Mugabe’s boys fled from the scene as a show of remorse.
“They knew were wrong but our spoiled South African children always use rights as a shield. She (Engels) decided to confront the First Lady hence she ended up being being humiliated,” Sikhakhane charged.
– CAJ News