Last week, local musician Simiso Zwane, known as Okmalumkoolkat, returned to South Africa after serving a one-month jail sentence in Tasmania, Australia, on charges of sexual assault.
The charges were laid after a fellow South African, who was on tour with the rapper, accused him of entering her hotel room and groping and kissing her against her will.
Upon his return last week, Simiso released an open letter to his fans about the charge, explaining that he only plead guilty because he was advised to do so by lawyers.
To My fans pic.twitter.com/FbxnVUpz1b
— 100kMaCassette (@okmalumkoolkat) March 8, 2016
However, local artist Laura Windvogel, who works under the name Lady Skollie, noticed something about Simiso’s statement that bothered her – it was strikingly self-centred, making no acknowledgement that the incident involved a woman and affected her life, too.
To point out the skewed perspective in his letter, she recreated another version and posted it on Facebook with the caption: ‘I want to know about HER, HER, HER’:
Over email, Laura said, ‘As a self-proclaimed “youth influencer”, I had hoped that he would admit his wrongdoing, survey our current rape culture climate and seize the opportunity to spread a much needed message: I DO NOT CONDONE THIS, DON’T MAKE MY MISTAKES. Alas, a #SorryNotSorry apology was his response.’
‘As women we should not be accepting any more self-serving, self-congratulatory apologies,’ she continued.
As Okmalumkoolkat, Simiso has more than 120 000 followers on Twitter and more than 150 000 on Instagram. As a prominent local musician, he has the power to influence fans and affect the way they perceive sexual assault and rape culture. The message his statement sends out is that it’s OK to erase victims, doubt their accusations and move on without reflection.
When she published her print on Facebook, Laura announced that she would be selling copies for R400 each and donating the proceeds to the Albertina Sisulu Rape Crisis Centre in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. So far, she’s raised more than R15 000.
‘I will be able to donate R15 000 in Okmalumkoolkat’s name to the Albertina Sisulu Rape Crisis Center,’ Laura says.
‘I want to dedicate this work to Sinoxolo Mafevuka, Franziska Blöchliger, and the five victims of the serial rapist at Rhodes Memorial, considering that the above “apology” letter was released on the day both these girls’ bodies were discovered and coincided with International Women’s Day.’