NJABULO BUTHELEZI, AKANI CHAUKE & TINTSWALO BALOYI
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
“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,”
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
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 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 humiliated,” Sikhakhane charged – CAJ News