This gala dinner should be some bash with Manana there

Ideas

This gala dinner should be some bash with Manana there

It looks like a cruel hoax: a convicted woman abuser speaking at a gathering against gender-based violence

Columnist

At first glance it looked like a cruel hoax: marketing bumph circulated on Monday suggested that convicted abuser and violent misogynist Mduduzi Manana was being promoted as a speaker at a gathering against gender-based violence, under the headline: “Legends united against gender based violence”.
Things got even weirder on Tuesday, when news headlines suggested that Manana had been invited so that “both sides” of the appalling story could be represented. You know, the way Eugene de Kock always gets invited to address commemorative events on June 16.
Below the headlines, however, the story was more complicated.
In a series of increasingly frantic Facebook posts, organisers Shevolution Africa explained that Manana was not going to deliver a speech on Saturday. Rather, he will be sitting on a panel to face questions from a no doubt angry audience. They did not explain why they thought it was a good idea to have a picture of him on one of their posters: the only place Manana’s picture should appear is on flyers warning people to stay away from him.
So far the official narrative is one of justifiable outrage. But I suspect that the real story here is the one lurking between the lines. And to winkle it out in the open, we need to go back a week.
That was when Manana appeared in a video clip, citing the “hard lessons” he had learned and urging men to join last week’s women’s march. Because obviously what a women’s march needs is more men.I must confess that I’m not sure which “hard lessons” Manana was referring to. His conviction for assaulting three women came with jail time or the payment of a R100,000 fine. For a deputy minister, R100,000 is about two weeks’ pay. If Manana thinks that’s a hard lesson he must have found Grade 5 very difficult indeed.
So why is Manana posting videos of himself pretending to care about gender-based violence? Why is he agreeing to help raise funds for the fight against people like him?
The answer lies in one of Shevolution Africa’s Facebook posts. No, not the ones punting the Miss Wild Coast Semi-Finals. I mean the one in which the organisation claims that it “actively participates in programmes geared towards the re-integration of offenders into society”.
Now, I don’t know Mr Manana – thank God – but I imagine that he wants to be reintegrated into society as fast as possible so he can get back to earning R200,000 a month for warming a leather armchair.
Of course, the ANC usually reintegrates scumbags into society simply by reintegrating them into government. But we’re coming up to an election, which means Manana is going to have to do it the old-fashioned way: crocodile tears on a carefully planned rehabilitation tour.
If paying R100,000 was a hard lesson, imagine how he’ll whine when he’s finally back in government in a year or two.

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