Freelance journalist, Sihle Mthembu, has written a compelling article in the Mail & Guardian showing how South African rapper Smiso Zwane, famously known as OkMalumKoolKat, was allowed to continue with his life without much scrutiny from society.
OkMalumKoolKat was found guilty of indecent assault as well as assault with indecent intent in Australia and served his sentence.
Mail & Guardian's arts and culture editor, Milisuthando Bongela, says it was important to pursue the story because society perceives some famous people as except from their personal offences.
Mthembu and Bongela say perpetrators then become 'victims' without being questioned.
My concern was looking at a way that a lot of his fans treated him when he came back. There were these campaigns to free him when he was initially arrested and people were treating him as someone who has served his time, and that was the end of the story.— Sihle Mthembu, freelance journalist
We did not deal with it properly. In the absence of victim's identity in OkMalumKoolKat case, he suddenly became a victim.— Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian's arts and culture editor
Hashtag FreeOkMalumKoolKat took prevalence of the conversation of what actually happened.— Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian's arts and culture editor
My intention for pushing forward with the story was to help us as a society have a conversation - disagree if we must. Disagree - but can we put on the table as a way to understand this.— Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian's arts and culture editor
They discussed how often fans find it hard to separate their music or acting idols from the acts of sexual abuse these individuals have committed.
Listen to the full conversation below...
This article first appeared on 702 : Do we allow celebrities to get away with sexual offences?