Sonke Gender Justice calls for survivor-centred support in Babes Wodumo assault case

Sonke Gender Justice expresses concern at responses to a video shared on social media on Monday 4 March 2019, showing what appears to be the singer Bongekile ‘Babes Wodumo’ Simelane being assaulted by her partner, Mandla ‘Mampintsha’ Maphumulo. This is not the first time allegations of abuse have arisen against Mampintsha, who currently has a warrant out for his arrest.

Sonke joins other civil society organisations in expressing support for Ms Simelane in her decision to break her silence surrounding the abuse, and in her decision to lay charges against Mampintsha.

Sonke notes however, Ms Simelane has received criticism for her decision to share the alleged abuse via Instagram Stories. It is important as a society to understand the complex dynamics of gender-based violence (GBV) and rather than shame a survivor for speaking out, we should create an environment, which a) believes the survivor when they allege abuse and b) encourages and facilitates reporting of GBV. We must not victim blame. And in this case, we should not judge the decision of Ms Simelane to expose the actions of her abuser via social media.

South Africa has some of the highest rates of GBV and femicide in the world – with the femicide rate being almost five times the global average. We know that domestic abuse is often a precursor to femicide and each case of domestic violence must therefore be taken seriously. Narratives which challenge the authenticity of such allegations fuel under-reporting because women do not feel supported and safe to report incidences for fear they will not be believed.

We know that there is severe under-reporting of GBV in South Africa. Choosing not to report may be influenced by a number of factors, which include a lack of support services for survivors of GBV and survivors being forced to endure abuse due to socio-economic factors.

This is why Sonke reiterates our call for a fully-costed National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence, which would address these gaps. In addition, we call for the President to sign the Declaration from the GBV Summit held in November 2018. Comprised of 16 resolutions, the Declaration commits to the establishment of an overarching, multi-sectorial gender-based violence co-ordinating structure and a national strategic plan on GBV.

These actions will indicate that the government is serious about ending GBV in our country.

For comment, please contact:

Kayan Leung, Legal and Litigation Manager, Sonke Gender Justice,, 078 302 7887

Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, Policy Development and Advocacy Fellow, Sonke Gender Justice,, 076 164 8972

Bafana Khumalo, Senior Strategic Advisor, Sonke Gender Justice,, 082 578 4479