Op-Ed

Op-Ed: South Africans Are Fine With Muting R Kelly But Not Their Own Problematic Male Artists

It's about time someone tells the damn truth about this hypocrisy.

The story of R Kelly and his decades of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of Black women has long been an open secret. But it is only following the airing of the telling docu-series Surviving R Kelly, that the wider community is finally accepting that they can no longer enable and protect this monster.

Hence, when #MuteRKelly was established, many people across the world joined together to rally against R Kelly's music being played on radio stations. South Africans were no different in this regard and such was the public push that our public broadcaster entered into serious discussions to consider removing R Kelly's music from their radio stations nationwide.

However, it is ironic that South Africans were able to rally together over the muting of an international musician and yet won't even turn the volume down when it comes to their own problematic male artists.


In 2017, TV personality Bonang Matheba released her controversial biography From A to B and people were talking more about the editing faux pas than the actual content of the book. There is a haunting passage where Bonang spoke about why she was no longer best friends with the eccentric TV personality Somizi Mhlongo. She said it was simply because he had chosen to remain friends with her ex-boyfriend who she carefully doesn't name in the book. The boyfriend in question is widely reported to be DJ Euphonik, who Bonang brought a case against in 2012 for physical assault but later dropped.


Bonang's alleged assault was again ignored and she was instead slut-shamed and ridiculed on social media. Even when she wrote it down for all to see, not a damn thing happened to DJ Euphonik. South Africans didn't call for the boycott of any of his shows, music or the fact that he's still on radio with access to numerous artists who are more than willing to collaborate with him.

Famed kwaito artist Arthur Mafokate has for a long time been embroiled in a court case where his former girlfriend CiCi Twala accused him of physically beating her and even had the pictures of her injuries to prove it in court. No-one has shunned Arthur's music. Purported feminists, the likes of Nomzamo Mbatha, even took a picture with Arthur not long ago and for the life of me I still cannot understand what it was in her, and her politics, that allowed that moment to happen. Her "I cringe with you all" comments after being asked to explain her decision to take the photo with him are vacuous if you ask me.

How many still refer to Arthur as the King of Kwaito? "We have to separate the artist from his art" you say. However, why is it that you only want to separate the artist from his art when his victims are women? Could it not be because you care very little for women and that you don't inherently see rape or abuse as actual crimes? What is it about rape that it has become so normalized and even palatable for you?

What about DJ Cleo who recently described his fellow musician and friend Brickz's rape conviction as a mere "fall"? No one is saying that DJ Cleo cannot visit his rapist friend in jail or forgive him for his "mistake" (read crime) but to speak as if firstly, rape happens by accident and secondly, his friend is some fallen hero, only serves to rehash how rape and abuse are treated with compromising tolerance in South Africa. Such is the reality that I can even call it right now and say that neither DJ Cleo nor Brickz will be (or have been) muted on the playlists of many South Africans.

If you think the buck stops there, it doesn't. Another male artist of note is Okmalumkoolkat. He was convicted of sexually assaulting another performer in Tasmania while on tour and subsequently sentenced to 6 months in prison. He only served one. Speaking about Okmalumkoolkat, writer Bakang Akoonyatse says: "He returned home to his partner and child to 'heal', a luxury I doubt his victim has or had." In fact, just a few weeks ago at Riky Rick's inaugural Cotton Fest, Okmalumkoolkat was part of the line-up of artists who were set to perform.

This lack of empathy is because many South Africans, men in particular, do not perceive the rampant rape and abuse in this country as the acts of personal terrorism that they truly are. They pretend to care for the likes and retweets but the veneer eventually comes off and we see that what they're really dying to say is this: I am not enraged or offended enough by any of this to the extent of wanting to ensure that it affects the livelihood of this person so that they may be held to account for their actions.

Many of them are not interested in muting any of these problematic if not criminal artists and that's okay. But can they at least have the courage, if not the human decency that they so obviously lack, to say it with their chest and drop the pretenses.

Due to a complaint from DJ Euphonik, this story was changed to reflect the fact that DJ Euphonik was not referred to by name in Bonang's book "From A to B" and that any suggestions that he was the perpetrator of abuse against her are allegations and unproven in court.

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Watch the Trailer for 'Gangs of Lagos,' Amazon's First African Movie

Amazon's Gangs of Lagos will premiere on April 7th.

Nollywood is coming to Prime Video.

On Monday, the conglomerate announced that it would be releasing Gangs of Lagos, its first original African movie, on April 7th. The project, which is directed by renowned filmmaker Jáde Osiberu, features Nigerian stars like Tobi Bakare, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Chike Osebuka, Chioma Chukwuka, and Iyabo Ojo.

The movie will follow the lives of a group of friends as they navigate the bustling streets of Lagos.

In a press release, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, head of Nigerian Originals at Prime Video, described the movie as a story that highlights the importance of friendship and family.

"Gangs of Lagos is a unique story about family and friendship, against the action-packed backdrop and striking set pieces of the streets of Lagos,” Mba-Uzoukwu said. “As the first Nigerian Original to launch on Prime Video, Gangs of Lagos sets the tone and standard, with the authentically Nigerian storyline in a genre that is so popular around the globe, making it a movie for our audiences at home and abroad.”

Gangs of Lagos - Official Teaser | Prime Video Naijawww.youtube.com

Located on the country's southwest coast, Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria. Over the years, the vibrant city has become known for its bustling economy, eclectic culture, and rich history. The crime drama promises to showcase the nitty gritty rumble and tumble of Lagos, as well as the authentic elements that make it one of the most renowned cities in the world.

Ned Mitchell, head of African and Middle East Originals, Prime Video said that with the roll out, Prime Video was hoping to connect with original voices.

“At Prime Video, we are looking to work with original voices to create spectacular stories and events that audiences can connect with wherever they may be,”

Mitchell said. "Gangs of Lagos launching will truly be a global cultural moment that marks the beginning of a new era in storytelling, where audiences everywhere can see the full power of Nigerian and African voices and the depths of our continued commitment to the local TV and film industry.”
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Photo by Cindy Ord for Getty

Trevor Noah Wins Prestigious Erasmus Prize

Trevor Noah is the first comic to win the prestigious Erasmus Prize since Charlie Chaplin in 1965.

Famous South African comic Trevor Noah has won the prestigious Erasmus Prize from The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation. The award is named after Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus' most famous piece of work.

According to a statement from The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, Noah was receiving the prize “for his inspired contribution to the theme ‘In Praise of Folly,’ named after Erasmus’s most famous book, which is filled with humor, social criticism, and political satire.” (Desiderius Erasmus was an influential Dutch philosopher from the northern Renaissance era.)

Noah is the first comic since 1965 who has been awarded the honor. The last comic to win the prize was Charlie Chaplin, who received the recognition in 1965. Since 1958, The Erasmus Prize has been awarded to recipients recognized for many achievements, including literature, music, philosophy, and social activism. Some notable recipients who have received the award in the past include Jorge Luis Borges, Isaiah Berlin, Ingmar Bergman, and Amartya Sen.

The panel that selects awardees for the prize includes a committee of scholars and cultural experts who review nominations and recommend to the board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation after weighing in on the strength of each candidate. After the recommendation, it is up to the board to make the final decision on the award recipient. The prize is typically awarded in the fall during a ceremony in the Dutch royal palace in Amsterdam.

Beyond his work as a comic, the former Daily Show host has been vocal about his social justice advocacy and has been a strong advocate for human rights issues on a broad scale. While a host on The Daily Show, he consistently used his voice to highlight other prominent Africans. It is safe to say that the 39-year-old has indeed made South Africa proud.

Photo by Alex Wong via Getty

‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Paul Rusesabagina to Be Released From Prison

Paul Rusesabagina, who became renowned for his heroic portrayal in ‘Hotel Rwanda’, has received a presidential-ordered prison commute and will be released.

Paul Rusesabagina, the former hotel manager who saved over 1,200 Rwandans during the 1994 genocide and who was the inspiration behind the 2004 Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, will be released from prison on Saturday (March 25th). Following a request for clemency, Rwanda’s government commuted the prison sentence of Paul Rusesabagina, who is now 68.

In 2020, the Rwandan government arrested Rusesabagina in Dubai and later transferred him to Rwanda, where he faced charges of terrorism related to his alleged involvement in a rebel group. Following the charges, the Rwandan court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. His sentencing triggered controversy, with some supporters alleging he had been unfairly targeted. In 2022, Rusesabagina’s family sued the government of Rwanda for $400 million, stating that they had "abducted" and illegally imprisoned him. Following Rusesabagina’s conviction, several people speculated that he had been detained because he had previously criticized Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame’s politics.

During Rwanda’s genocide, Rusesabagina worked as a hotel manager at the Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Despite the violence and chaos surrounding him, Rusesabagina used his influence and resources to protect and shelter over 1,200 Tutsi and moderate Hutu refugees from the Hutu extremists carrying out the genocide. Hotel Rwanda was based on Rusesabagina’s experiences during the genocide, and the film's release catapulted him to fame. In the movie, Rusesabagina was portrayed by Hollywood actor Don Cheadle.

According to spokesperson Yolande Makolo, the sentences of 19 others convicted alongside Rusesabagina will also be released.

"Under Rwandan law, commutation of the sentence does not extinguish the underlying conviction," Makolo told Reuters. “Rwanda notes the constructive role of the US government in creating conditions for dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the State of Qatar."

As reported by Reuters, Rwanda’s ministry of justice also stated that the commutation could be revoked if any released prisoners repeated the offenses.

"If any individual benefiting from early release repeats offenses of a similar nature, the commutation can be revoked, and the remainder of the prison sentence will be served," Rwanda's justice ministry said.
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Photo by Matt Crossick

Davido Is Bringing ‘Timeless’ to These Cities

The Nigerian superstar has announced ‘A Timeless Night with Davido’ in Lagos, London and New York.

Davido has shared on social media that he will be bringing his Timelessalbum to New York, London, and Lagos, dubbing the mini-tour “A Timeless Night With Davido.”

In the post, the singer wrote:The support for Timeless over the last few days has been incredible! Thank you for the love. I'm so excited to bring this album to life and share it with you in person. London, New York City, Lagos join me for ‘A Timeless Night,' a special live event, where we'll make memories that will last forever!”

The DMW boss shared dates for the events; noting that in the first week of April, he will take the stage in New York and London, at Irving Plaza and Koko London, respectively, before returning to Lagos to perform at Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Lagos later that month.

In a viral social media post on Tuesday, the Nigerian singer announced that he will be releasing his latest studio album Timeless on March 31. The announcement spurred a lot of excitement and expectation from fans, who had been curious about the singer’s well-being after the extended hiatus that followed the tragic loss of his son, three year old Ifeanyi Adeleke.

Throughout Davido's 11-year career, he has become a staple in Afrobeats and has contributed significantly to pushing the sound, helping it resonate with fans globally. The singer has released several studio albums throughout his career, including Omo Baba Olowo (2012), A Good Time (2019), and A Better Time (2020).

Timeless will be his fourth studio album.

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