Black rape furore

30 August 2013 - 03:11 By GRAEME HOSKEN and SCHALK MOUTON
A baby's foot. File photo.
A baby's foot. File photo.
Image: Calmtwood/ Flickr.com

A Pretoria University philosophy lecturer has resigned after a racist blog she wrote was exposed.

Louise Mabille said the rape of babies was a "cultural phenomenon" among black South Africans.

In an article on feminism, on the Afrikaans cultural website Praag, Mabille said: "Naturally, it is much easier to endlessly complain about 'Calvinism' than to ask the question on why the rape of babies is a cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups."

A complaint from University of Johannesburg political science lecturer Piet Croucamp alerted Pretoria University management to Mabille's post.

Croucamp said he had raised his concerns with the vice-chancellor after the philosophy department had refused to deal with it.

"They said she wrote in her personal capacity and that it fell within her right to freedom of speech. I told them it was hate speech, which limits one's freedom of speech."

Mabille - who resigned with immediate effect last night - told The Times she "deeply regrets having written the piece and causing harm or pain to anyone".

Pretoria University spokesman Nicolize Mulder said Mabille had not provided reasons for quitting.

''What is important to note is Mabille states in her posting that she was writing in her personal capacity," he said.

"The university notes the outcry. While the university supports academic speech and allows academics to make responsible statements within the framework of their field of study, the university will act immediately if any academic or member of staff makes themselves guilty of discriminatory or hate speech," Mulder said.

A university investigation was under way, he said.

SA Human Rights Commission spokesman Isaac Mangena said it, too, would investigate. Asked if the article amounted to hate speech, he said: "On face value it appears so. However, until the context of what was written has been studied it cannot be said for sure."

Praag executive editor Dan Roodt described the article as "forthright and challenging". It asked why Western feminists were so anti-West and in this country criticised only white men and patriarchy, and not black men.

"The notion that her piece could be hate speech is preposterous. If so then the speech of Deputy President Motlanthe at the National Men's Rally was also 'hate speech'.

"Motlanthe, according to the SABC, said 'men must not use culture to perpetuate violence against women and children'. In passing, Mabille refers to the myth among some black South African men that raping children or babies would cure one of Aids, which the Rape Crisis Centre also refers to," Roodt said.

Mabille and Motlanthe converged on the issue, that culture should not engender violence against women, especially girls and even babies, he said.

"We commissioned the piece as we are concerned about the horrific sexual violence in South Africa. We believe there should be a national debate . intellectual and analytical."

Roodt said Praag was shocked at Mabille's resignation.

"If it had anything to do with her article, it would be a sad day for intellectual debate, for freedom of expression and for academic freedom . Then we have become as benighted as the rapists and killers themselves.

"The issue of sadistic violence and the pathological attacks on women, children and the elderly will not go away in South Africa. We need to discuss it in a frank and open manner.

"Those who criticised Mabille are all Afrikaners. It saddens me to say this, but Afrikaners seem to make very good communists. The more our society sinks into a quagmire of ideology and prejudice, the more some Afrikaners, especially some academics, display an intolerance and a doctrinaire attitude reminiscent of Stalin's Russia."

Mabille also said:

"[Something] that leftist feminists conveniently avoid is the real threats to women. We find that, for instance, a proper feminist criticism on Jacob Zuma and his crude patriarchal practices shines in its absence . I would have thought that it should be a priority to make mince-meat of a polygamist who has been accused of rape and in whose language a word for this crime hasn't even been invented before the arrival of whites. That is not even to mention his charming habit of making babies with every woman that crosses his path."

"Something that is especially revolting about modern feminism is the forced association with the Third World, socialism and crime. If there is a future in feminism then its supporters should rather position themselves to the right, and tackle real problems."

"Let them ask how Women's Day could be celebrated if a rural woman can get raped and set alight and that doesn't lead to an eruption of rage in our country."

"The world attacked [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for his withdrawal of explicit gay rights while there is a genocide of gay people in Zimbabwe and black lesbians in the townships are subjected to 'corrective rape'."

"There is also a big unwillingness to tackle Islam."

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