Twitter divided over Cheryl Zondi's new foundation
Cheryl Zondi launched a foundation on Tuesday that encourages women to use the pain of their abuse to raise awareness and help victims "through a legal process". But there have been mixed reactions on social media.
Zondi was the first person to take the stand against Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso, who was accused of rape. His trial in the High Court in Port Elizabeth began in October and Zondi's testimony turned her into a national figure.
She testified that Omotoso sexually abused her from the age of 14 while she was a member of his Jesus Dominion International church in Port Elizabeth.
The Cheryl Zondi Foundation will focus on women who have been abused in sacred spaces or places of worship.
"People out there are warned to be careful when they are out at night, but they are not necessarily warned when they are going to a church, a traditional space, ancestral space or any other kind of religious setting," said Zondi at the launch.
Zondi's initiative has the support of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (known as the CRL Rights Commission).
The Cheryl Zondi Foundation was welcomed by people on social media who congratulated Zondi on her courage and desire to help other victims of abuse.
#CherylZondi a victim of rape and sexual assault. Used her voice to speak out against a crooned pastor and is now creating a safe haven for women and children that are victims of abuse #TurningPainIntoPurpose she is proof that it's not the end of the world pic.twitter.com/vyegb99Fts— MwansaC🇿🇲🇿🇲 (@MwansaChola0) December 4, 2018
❤️ I pray your foundation helps rise awareness for victims of sexual violence in letting them understand that they’re never to blame. Going through your hashtag has made me realise that you’ll be on trial for a while to come by certain people but keep fighting ❤️✊🏾#CherylZondi— ♏️😈 (@Samuelchibwe_) December 4, 2018
However, others were not so supportive. They questioned not only Zondi's motives but also those of the CRL Rights Commission.
One critic accused Zondi of being a "publicity seeker". Others called the new foundation "a business opportunity" and "a rash idea".
"I smell a rat here," warned another Twitter user.
I dont know who is more of a publicity seeker,the girl Cheryl Zondi or the old lady of the CRL!— Mike Clarence (@MikeClarence2) December 4, 2018
Cheryl Zondi rushing to open foundations and briefing media while this case is still in its infancy, is just a rash idea. As a defense lawyer I could bring a counter argument she created this spectacle just to benefit from it and be in the limelight.— Trash Boat (@Jozee25) December 4, 2018
CRL Commission Chairperson is also serving as one of Cheryl Zondi Foundation board membes. I smell a rat here— Tsonga Flames 🔥🔥🔥 (@choppa_matsimbi) December 4, 2018
Cheryl Zondi, the young woman who testified in the pastor Timothy Omotoso trial, has launched a foundation to help survivors of sexual abuse. Zondi said that with this foundation, she aims to assist women and young people who have gone through the same experiences as her in sacred spaces.