Gender-based violence event: Manana on panel so perpetrators' views can be heard too

The organisers of an event aimed at raising funds to oppose gender-based violence, said the idea behind having people such as former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana as a panellist was to have perpetrators speak about their actions.

READ: Manana has 'taken full responsibility' and 'shown remorse' - Mthembu

"Our panel consists of religious leaders, affected mothers, victims, and perpetrators. Manana... [is] a public figure who has suffered for his actions and [was] put to book, [so] we decided to include him in the panel," one of the organisers, Buhle Tonise, told News24 on Tuesday.

This, after a poster advertising the event, hosted by Shevolution Africa, sparked outrage on social media. 

The poster, which had the tagline "Legends united against gender-based violence", carried Manana's face prominently. Tonise said Manana was not going to be the only perpetrator on the panel.

"We wanted perpetrators to talk. Unfortunately, not everyone within the panel was highlighted," she said.

Reaction

Having perpetrators speaking at the event would also afford the community an opportunity to have an idea of their thoughts on issues of gender-based violence, so that people can jointly find solutions to the problem, Tonise added. 

"We never get to know... [what] the perpetrators' mentalities are, and if we bring them back to society, how we can live with them again? That’s why we brought everybody in the community but unfortunately, not everyone who will be [on] the panel was highlighted."

It was unclear whether Manana would still attend after the reaction from the public, Tonise said.

She said they sent an invitation to the Manana Foundation which was provisionally accepted. 

However, the Manana Foundation confirmed on Monday evening that Manana would not be a speaker at the event, but that he was invited to be part of a panel.

It said it was honoured to receive an invitation from the organisers of the event but it was not aware that there would be a poster carrying Manana's picture. 

"The foundation has noted the insensitive nature of the event poster, carrying the face of the chairperson (Manana) and further describing him as a legend," it said in a statement. 

"The assault conviction that involves the chairperson, for which he took full responsibility and showed remorse is understandably still fresh in the minds of many South Africans (more so during this month)." 

It advised the organisers to withdraw the poster.

Manana could not be immediately reached for comment at the time of publication.