Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu may have unwittingly become a household name in South African politics. The Deputy Minister for Social Development has stuck her neck out and made a bold statement about gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.
Bogopane-Zulu gave the opening speech at the Partnerships for Prevention Regional Conference in Gauteng. The UN-backed event also gave a voice to a few gender-rights groups, who were emphasising their commitment to the #Evidence2Action campaign – which seeks to find more resolutions for GBV cases.
Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu’s controversial opinion on GBV
However, eyebrows have been raised by the Deputy Minister’s utterances. She claimed that mothers have been raising “angry boys”, making them just as culpable as the criminals committing femicide.
“Lets not sit around waiting for enough evidence whilst women and children are dying. Evidence and research must find us in the process of action. Women are not only victims, but also contributers [to GBV]. We raise angry boys. We are all equally guilty.”Deputy Minister for Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
South Africans unhappy with “the blame game”
The GBV comments haven’t gone down well at all. Social media proved to be a hot-bed of criticism for Bogopane-Zulu. Responding to a Tweet on the matter, Andani Masgige vented the frustrations felt by the online community:
“It’s the ‘we are equally guilty’ part. This statement is problematic because it implies that women are also to blame for being raped, murdered and sexually harassed – and I strongly disagree.” Andani Masgige on Twitter
The remarks have been made at a time where GBV is under more scrutiny than ever before. A spate of femicides sparked mass protests across South Africa in September, as women demanded increased measures to keep them safe. The deaths of Precious Ramabulana and Gomolemo Legae in the past week have fanned the flames of anger, and Bogopane-Zulu’s speech may just stoke that fire a little more.
Evidence and research must find us in the process of action – women are dying says @The_DSD Deputy Minister @BogopaneZulu opening Partnerships for Prevention Regional Conference. #Evidence2Action #16Days #EnoughisEnough— UN Women South Africa (@unwomenSA) December 4, 2019