A part of me is thankful that we live in a time where there are platforms that make it easy for communities to engage on such issues in an effortless manner, without having to gather physically in one space.
Another part of me is glad that such a case reached the public discourse because most of these cases are as complex and complicated as Boniswa’s, and there is no way one can oversimplify them, or come with a manual to help exit out of.
Here is a recap:
1. Boniswa (B) claims to have reported to Black Coffee (BC) that his then business associate, Amaru Da Costa (ADC), emotionally and psychologically abused her, whilst she was employed … at Soulistic Music in 2015.
2. BC merely said “we’ll talk” and the conversation never happened, until B decided to exit the record label, fleeing from the toxic working environment.
3. B reported the workplace bully/abuser to BC in his capacity as a manager and a powerful stakeholder within the employment triangle between her, BC, and ADC. Even after B felt that she was forced to exit BC’s company, BC later indicated that he is interested to have “the talk” about the then alleged abuse, regardless. This went as far as BC following B on social media networks and exchanging contact details. But still, nothing materialized, as BC never made any significant action, but instead, chose to be uNokuthula kaNocwaka.
4. Then 5 years later, BC claims to be interested in mobilizing a march against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) for 15 June 2020 and inviting men and boys to join him in this march.
How would anyone not find the above scenario absurd? Yi-film, uz’beke ndiyaqala noyiva!
I am still mind-boggled by the unnecessary gaslighting and disingenuous questions being asked Boniswa, after BC and his company (management) clearly failed her.
B also relayed how she was also failed by the justice system of this country when she later reported being raped by the same person (ADC), in 2019. Supportive women and organizations such as Rosie Motene and POWA attest to the fact that they got lame excuses from the senior police (SAPS) officials regarding why the case never went as far as reaching the successful prosecution stage. They even approached the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials, but nothing changed.
Some lame excuses cited included: the police system being inundated with criminal cases, and lack of time and resources, making it uneasy for them to deal with this case. What the hell is going on with the entire justice system of South Africa? Throw the whole corrupt thing away already!
My understanding is that when abuse is reported to you as an employer (or manager within a company), you must initiate grievance and disciplinary procedures, and follow them to the ”T” and make a decision about the status of your association with [or employment of] the alleged perpetrator. You must also make your stance clear to the relevant parties about your non-tolerance for abuse of any kind.
The criminal justice system and the employee grievance procedure are two separate processes. For now, the focus is on how BC refused to deal with his “grootman” regarding the abuse, when it was reported to him, in his professional capacity. He never followed-up, even when Boniswa reached out on numerous occasions. He also seems to not have any HR report to dish out as receipt to the public, to salvage himself out of this.
There seems to be a lack of conclusion to this, but I got annoyed by how Boniswa was seen as the overly dramatic party in all of this, just for speaking her truth to power. The re-victimization, vilification, and smearing of the [name of the] victim wins again, whilst the alleged perpetrator (ADC) and the cushion(er) of abuse culture (BC) run scot-free.