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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.

Interview
Photo: Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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