Poet Ntsiki Mazwai and kwaito artist Skroofman have teamed up in an effort to encourage women to name and shame perpetrators of sexual violence in a new song, ‘Impilo’.
The two artists have also founded #KhulumaGalAgainstRape, an initiative that will see them touring schools and communities around the country to raise awareness.
In October 2017, Mazwai revealed she was raped by kwaito star Sipho ‘Brickz’ Ndlovu, who is currently serving 15 years in prison for raping his teenage family member.
About the inspiration behind Impilo and #KhulumaGalAgainstRape, Mazwai said: “The message is clear, women must speak up. I’m hoping that more women will come out and have conversations about their experiences of sexual abuse.”
When asked if the word “gal” would trivialise the message, she said: “Once you start using language that is familiar, in a way you’re bringing people into the conversation. And this message is for the black girl, because the black girl is the one who doesn’t have the voice.”
Ntsiki Mazwai and Skroofman. Picture: Supplied
South Africa is experiencing a gender-based violence epidemic. Too often women are the ones tasked with spreading a message of positivity.
On what she thinks is going to take for the men in the country to realise the onus is on them, Mazwai said: “Gender-based violence is a man problem, I don’t think that women should be the ones addressing it, which is why I was so happy when Skroofman came up with this concept.
"He said he was hurt about the scourge of violence against women and he wanted to know how he could use his voice. And we decided to use this song so that he too could stand with women saying ‘yes speak sister, the men are behind you’, we will protect you, tell us who hurt you.”
The genre of the new song is different from the poetic and soulful sound of Mazwai, who enthused that the different gqom or house song was deliberate. She wanted to use a familiar sound that the masses would relate to.
“I did a rape song on my album ‘The Master Piece’, called ‘Done to Me’ and it was very sad and emotional. I’m finding that the South African audience if you want them to pay attention, they listen to a certain sound, so you can actually slip in important messages by using popular culture.’’
‘Impilo’ is playlisted on various radio stations and available on digital platforms.