Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the latest politician to victim-blame abused women


ANC presidential hopeful, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the latest to join the long list of politicians who have said questionable things about gender-based violence. We had Susan Shabangu, Minister of Women (!!!) calling Karabo Mokoena ‘weak’ and then Police Minister Fikile Mbalula blamed alcohol for deputy minister Mduduzi Manana’s assault of Mandisa Duma.  The Daily Vox team rounds up the recent spell of misogyny.

At yesterday’s African Women Chartered Accountants Woman of Substance awards, Dlamini-Zuma spoke about the African Union and Agenda 2063. She emphasised the important role that women have to play in growing the economy.

All good and well, but then, she couldn’t help but be hella problematic and throw in some archaic gender roles and victim blaming proving once again how unfeminist the women of the ANC Women’s league truly are.

First, she said the primary role of women in Africa must still remains childbearing.

Yaas, that’s all we’re good for, right?

Talking about the role of women on the continent, Dlamini-Zuma said that women should take action when they are in an abusive relationship.

She said women should not accept violence against them and should stand up.

Ah, if only it were that easy. According to statistics, most abused women are killed after leaving their abusers, making it that more dangerous to try and leave.

As we paid lip service on Women’s Day, a Khayelitsha woman, Aviwe Jam Jam’s body was found after she was allegedly killed by her abusive boyfriend – who she tried to escape from.

We’re not surprised. Dlamini-Zuma has been making problematic statements about gender-based violence. Twitter dragged her on Monday after a thread where she “gravely” condemned violence against women. In one of her tweets she said “If you don’t like what someone is saying, you must walk away and not act violently.” Another said, “Abuse can start with a beating and often escalates to killing.”

Once again, Dlamini-Zuma falls into the trap of victim blaming. We cannot deny that women have agency but lumping all responsibility on women to walk away from abusive relationships shows how little she knows about the way these relationships, and toxic masculinity, work. Often emotional abuse starts way before “a beating” and this can be just as traumatic as physical abuse. Emotional abuse becomes a barrier which stops women from leaving toxic relationships.  To name a few, women are made to believe that it’s their fault, they are guilted and blackmailed into remaining in the relationship, they are often trapped in their partner’s cycle of good and bad behaviour – while he keeps promising to change and all the while their self-worth is bulldozed. Let’s not even get into the reality facing so many women today – economic dependence on their partners means leaving leads to destitution.

It’s just not as simple as leaving and neglecting to acknowledge emotional abuse shows her lack of understanding of abusive relationships.

And despite how vocal Dlamini-Zuma might have been about violence against women, we are still waiting for her to condemn Mduduzi Manana’s horrific public assault of a woman in a club last week.

Reporting by Fatima Moosa and Shaazia Ebrahim

Featured image via Flickr


  1. Dear Fatima Moosa and Shaazia Ebrahim,

    There is a significant mistake in your article. Your statement and the statement of the article it’s linked to are not the same.

    Dailyvox(Statement 1): ” According to statistics, most abused women are killed after leaving their abusers, making it that more dangerous to try and leave.”
    The Guardian(Statement 2): “The thing that I did not know that was so revealing to me was that anywhere between 50% and 75% of domestic violence homicides happen at the point of separation or after [the victim] has already left [her abuser]”

    The Dailyvox statement is attempting to conclude the PORTION of abused women who are killed when they try to leave.
    The Guardian statement, is concluding WHEN most of domestic violence homicides occur.
    They’re entirely incongruent conclusions. Essentially, the one statement is a reversal of the other.

    Perhaps, it’s an honest mistake, and it does happens sometimes. But you have to be diligent when quoting stats, because most people don’t actually read the study from which you quote your stats from. They just assume that your quote/conclusion is essentially a duplication of the studies conclusion.

  2. comrades if we are Buntu men we claim to be why are we abusing women to proof our manhood?
    I do agree with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma primary role of women is child bearing. Without women bearing children we will cease to exist. However where women desire to undertake work beyond child bearing it is our duty to devise a workable plan which will allow her to educated, train plus work at her desired profession. In short we should be flexible with women who bear children giving them withal under total circumstance to timely achieve goals as they timely meet requirements to achieve. There is nothing wrong with Buntu men in a Buntu community giving qualified Buntu women special treatment with careers beyond bearing children. If we are men we proclaim ourselves to be special treatment of Buntu women will not hinder our career. Let real Buntu men come forth.
    Personally I believe Dr. Dlamini Zuma is Buntu leader to clean up mess leaders of South Africa have made over last 20 to 50 years. As Africa Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson she demonstrated to all of Africa she is a capable manager plus South Africa needs a capable manager. It have not had one in decades if ever. I believe she will find withal to build reasonably good homes where deplorable shanty towns still exist thus, restore hope plus motivation to achieve good actions. In short she is that “lean on me Buntu we all need sometime” plus Buntu of South Africa have been hoping for.
    Very much sincere,
    Henry Price Jr. aka Obediah Buntu IL-Khan aka
    Kankan aka “Gue”


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