Babes Wodumo’s assault and the need for wider change

What’s news?

The big story of today is, of course, the video that emerged in the early hours of the morning seemingly showing Gqom star, Babes Wodumo, being beaten and intimidated by her boyfriend, Kwaito musician Mampintsha. There has been a huge backlash – and not just by the usual social media users. Arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa is just one of many big names who have called for action against Mampintsha, with various political parties and public figures joining the call.


You can watch the video here. Warning: it’s triggering. It’s an ongoing story that has been developing for some time, with allegations of the abuse surfacing before. Here’s the most comprehensive article on the story so far.

Why it matters:

The shock the video has elicited in many viewers is telling: Gender based violence is frighteningly high in South Africa, and many viewers spoke about feeling triggered – reminded of their own abuse or those of loved ones. Despite the big names it features, the video demonstrates how violence against women is utterly normalised in our society. But the saddest part perhaps is that our leaders – and even us as citizens -only react when it’s a truly shocking crime, or if it involves someone well-known. As gender activist Lisa Vetten has said before, all rape is shocking. The same is true of gender based violence. Our outrage and action on behalf of Simelane should translate into wider, structural change too. And our leaders should give us more than lip service when a case like this makes headlines.