Author and founder of Abantu Book Festival Thando Mgqolozana has released a video statement in response to abuse allegations against him.
On Friday, Mgqolazana took to Twitter to post what he has labelled his official statement – nearly a week after claims he had physically harmed his ex-wife, who is also the mother of his child.
In it, he says, “It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I issue this statement on the back of serious allegations levelled against me by my ex-wife mainly on social media. I would like to place it on record that my relationship with Thabisa became instantly toxic, particularly toxic from October 2018.”
The author says following several failed interventions by family, friends, and professionals, he and his then-wife decided to part ways. And although he admits the relationship was toxic, Mgqolozana vehemently denies any abuse.
He received backlash from supporters of his literary work, many lamenting the impression of safety and support in the fight against gender-based violence that he portrayed in the spaces he created – like the Abantu Book Festival.
Continuing his statement, in the form of a three-part video, Mgqolozana said: “Living in this society where men rape, maim and murder women every minute – it is important for us to rally support for those who report, and I will not waiver from this important pillar of the fight against gender-based violence even as I look everyone in the eye and honestly tell them that I am not one of the perpetrators.”
He said while he hoped his accuser would be supported in laying a criminal complaint against him, so the courts could decide on the matter, he had been granted an interim protection order and hoped for closure.
While Mgqolozana denies the claims he physically abused his ex-wife, he says he stands by his own belief that when a woman reports abuse, she must be believed.
“If a woman reports that she has been abused, believe her. Believe her.”
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