Don’t welcome Mike Tyson to SA
The REAL men of our country are being challenged to show solidarity with South African women who strongly condemn everyone involved in welcoming Mike Tyson to Gauteng, and portraying him as a hero and role model. As a convicted and unrepentant rapist, accused of battering two ex-wives, and famous for his violent and uncontrolled temper, Mike Tyson is not deserving of hero status in any country, least of all South Africa. With an estimated 1 in 4 of our women regularly being beaten by their male partners, and 1 in 3 women likely to be raped in her lifetime, South Africa is not a country that can afford to be irresponsible about the heroes it chooses.
The media and promotional material from Emperor’s Palace are claiming that ANC President Jacob Zuma has agreed to give a key-note address at the gala dinner being held to welcome Tyson to our country. Mr Zuma’s participation in any way in this event will signify contempt for the women of this country, and will critically undermine the positive efforts being made eradicate violence against women.
Last year over 52 000 rapes were recorded in South Africa – of which approximately 20 000 victims were girls under the age of 18. Although these figures are already horrendous, it is widely agreed that they are significantly inaccurate and that the real rate of rape is much higher but unreported.
Given this mantle of violence under which South African women must live, Mike Tyson is a highly insulting choice for a hero, and any suggestion that he has “changed” must be treated with the contempt it deserves: his conversion to Islam whilst serving a prison term for rape some years ago certainly made no noticeable difference to his attitude towards women, and only 3 months ago he was convicted of drug abuse and drunken driving. If newspaper reports are to be believed, it seems Tyson never misses an opportunity to demean and vilify women (see attached quotes). Is this has-been athlete with an on-going penchant for violating women someone South Africans should lionize? Is this a man we should present to South African children as someone to admire and emulate?
Some may suggest that Mike Tyson has “served his time” and so should be forgiven and his crimes forgotten. This is not however what we are being asked to do. We are being asked to welcome him into our country and to watch him being praised and feted as a hero. How can we, in the face of so many victims of rape and violence? How can we, in a society where drunken driving and drug abuse are claiming the lives of thousands? What message are we sending to our children – that it’s ok to rape and beat up women, drive whilst drunk and take illegal drugs – so long as you excel in a sport? Is there really such a paucity of heroes out there that we need to import someone with such a murky and reprehensible past, to be our hero? Can’t we find ourselves a REAL, South African, man?
Management & Staff
Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme
015 963 1222