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South Africans are Outraged that a Convicted Rapist's Crime is Being Downplayed in an Interview on National Television

The country's public broadcaster is interviewing convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow's mother who insists her son is not a rapist but a man who 'made a mistake'.

Almost two weeks ago, Judge Mokhine Mosopa of the Gauteng High Court, sentenced convicted child rapist Nicholas Ninow to life in prison. The sentence came after he was found guilty of raping a 7-year-old girl in a bathroom at the restaurant where he worked as a waiter last year . At the sentencing proceedings, South Africans were appalled that Ninow was allowed to recite a bizarre 48-line poem which he had addressed to the victim and her family, allegedly as a way of showing his remorse. As if that weren't bad enough, South Africa's public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), has now interviewed Ninow's mother in what many have described to be "insensitive" and a downplaying of his crime.


This past Sunday, SABC news anchor Chriselda Lewis posted a clip of the exclusive interview with Ninow's mother onto social media. The reaction was immediate and not in Lewis' favor. The clip in question shows Ninow's mother saying that her son is not a rapist but that he simply "made a mistake".

Many South Africans have accused both the SABC and Lewis of a number of things including: trying to be garner sympathy for Ninow, affording him further privileges as a White man in spite of him being being a convicted rapist and sensationalist journalism.

Some have asked why Ninow continues to specifically receive so much attention despite South Africa having rapists in abundance. None of these convicted rapists, past or present, have received this kind of media attention and more importantly, in the grossly sympathetic way that Ninow has. Additionally, they've also asked whether Ninow being a White man is what has driven how certain narratives around his crime have been framed.



In response, Lewis has dug in her heels and effectively accused those reprimanding her on social media of being internet trolls. She has also stated that she will no longer be engaging publicly on the matter. The SABC itself has released no official comment with regards to the interview.

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#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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