[imagesoure: VOCfm / Twitter]
Residents of the Bo-Kaap community, and the Cape community at large, have reacted with shock and anger to allegations of sexual abuse levelled at two elderly Bo-Kaap brothers, who were recognised as “well-respected” members and leaders.
The twins, aged 85, have previously served as school principals in Cape Town.
Allegations first broke into the public space after a video was uploaded to YouTube last Tuesday, titled ‘Exposing Pedophilia by Community Leaders in Cape Town’.
The video’s description alleges that the twins “have abused countless girls for over 50+ years”, and that “their professions in education, their standing in the community and their reputation as pious family men gave them easy access to children”.
It is an incredibly painful video to watch, as the young woman details the abuse she alleges she suffered at the hands of her paternal grandfather.
Some of what she had to say via Cape Town ETC:
“They have abused girls for decades. I was five when the abuse started. They abuse girls in their families,” she says in the video. “I know it’s hard for people to believe it because of who they are and how well they’re respected, the things they’ve done for the community. Maybe they’ve helped you, they’ve helped your children with their education.”
She says that each time she’s tried to speak out about the sexual abuse, she has been told to forget about it and “let it go”. Her grandfather and his brother have also not been held accountable despite multiple attempts by the woman to speak out about the incidents.
“It’s been decades and nothing has ever been done,” she says. “I’m asking you not to have your kids tutored by them and not visit them.”
You can watch the video in full below. Again, a warning that some of the descriptions are graphic:
At the time of writing, the video has been viewed more than 100 000 times, and last Thursday the Bo-Kaap community took to the streets to show their support for the young woman.
A group of residents marched to the home of one of the accused, and the Bo-Kaap Ratespayer’s Association said it “will be removing the alleged perpetrators from all positions they are currently serving in and ask the community to allow the law to take its course”.
In addition, one of the accused has been suspended from his position on the Muslim Judicial Council for South Africa.
On Saturday, EFF members joined the fray, marching to the home of one of the accused and demanding that the brothers move out of the area.
IOL reports that protesters threw rubbish at the home and attempted to kick the door in, and there was an altercation with one of the neighbours, who is alleged to have “set his dog on protesters”.
The young woman’s video has prompted other women to come forward with their own claims of sexual abuse at the hands of the brothers.
A lawyer’s letter from one of the accused, calling the accusations “wild, unsubstantiated and untrue”, was said to be the final straw.
Again, from IOL, with a warning that descriptions of sexual abuse are to follow:
A 29-year-old woman said she was 11 years old when she decided to confide in someone about the abuse, which started a few years earlier.
At the age of 8 or 9, the abuse had consisted of mostly non-consensual touching and rubbing against her. She confided in her parents and two school friends at the time. It then stopped.
A 37-year-old family member said the abuse started at the age of 9 or 10, with mostly inappropriate touching…
Another woman said she believed she was among the first to have been assaulted by him several decades ago.
“When puberty hit, he used to tickle my neck and play with my breasts. I was 10 or 11.”
She said she had confided in her sibling at 18 years old. She was aware that she was not the worst case: “There are more victims in the family.”
Each of those women spoke of their experience in greater detail, which you can read in full here.
If you’ve been the victim of rape or sexual assault, Rape Crisis offer support, access to the criminal justice system, and counselling to survivors and victims of sexual offences.
You can also find a list of national helpline numbers here.
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