Bheki Mashile's Letter from Umjindi

Butt of a joke. Don't do it


For a few years following my return from a long journey of self-imposed exile in the States, I was constantly being reminded that this is not America. I guess some people did not find it appropriate that I would do things like wear tights while jogging or cycling. Yes, absurd as it may seem, there are those who objected.

Take a small town, mix it with the machismo African-man mentality and you have a perfect blend of ignorance and utter stupidity. However, that was in the late ’90s and that ignorance – sorry, stupidity  – has fortunately gone away.

You know, there is something very wrong about this #MeToo movement where people are being tried by popular opinion. You can forget about innocent-until-proven-guilty – once you are exposed on social media your goose is cooked.

How do you defend yourself against a score of accusers who seemingly do not know each other but share similar stories about one’s touchy feely habits? You certainly cannot claim that they are conspiring against you.

How will all this turn out here in Mzansi? Will those who are exposed in this country face the same wrath as the Americans? I mean let’s face it, Harvey Weinstein has turned from Hollywood mogul to Hollywood pariah and, Bill Cosby could be facing up to ten years in jail when he’s sentenced for sexual assault. But here in Mzansi we have a habit of allowing these abusers to get away with it after offering a cheap apology.

A prominent Member of Parliament is caught on camera beating up a woman in front of a night club. Is he disciplined by his party? No. Instead, he continues to serve in Parliament.

What is wrong with this picture? Yes, I will say it again and again: these buggers should be glad this is not America. Although, if truth be told,  the American influence in dealing with these pariahs is spreading like wildfire throughout the world. And of course Mzansi will not be shielded from said influence.

So, am I concerned about this touchy feely exposure? You’re damn right I am.

Here is a funny story for your reading pleasure: It was the night before X-mas and all were sleeping, dreaming about Santa.

What? Wrong story?

No, I was in a nightclub in Georgetown, Washington DC. Now, mind you, this was 1982 and I was a senior in high school. (I was not in exile but accompanying Papa as he served his Majesty King Sobhuza II in the Swazi kingdom’s diplomatic core.)

So, I am at the bar with my fake ID  (legal age for booze then 18, and I was only 17 – but because my father had diplomatic immunity I could not be busted anyway). All of a sudden I hear this girl with a very heavy Chinese accent saying: “You squeezed my butt!”

I’m like, “I did no such thing!”

Remember, I am the son of a diplomat and Papa always said, “Watch your language, that is what diplomacy is all about, despite the fact that most of the time we are full of it.”

Anyway, this girl spent the rest of the night chasing me around the club, yelling, “You squeezed my butt!”. I didn’t. Really.

The Jackson Five

I would discover later, with great laughter, that the culprit was my friend, who had been standing next to me at the bar.

Anyway, this night was supposed to be great. We were there to watch the Jackson Five’s reunion concert on their “Victory Tour” in 1984 after his loser brothers begged Michael to reunite because his solo career was taking off. 

While everyone else is grooving to I want you back and Dancing machine, I am running away from the daughter of Sun Yat Sen. Man she chased me around the whole night. Well, I did finally get upset and turned around and said the f-word. I was fed up.


“I did not grab your butt you crazy b***, f-off!”  So much for diplomacy.

So what is the moral of the story here? Well, I hope this girl, as old as she is now, does not see my byline in the Nose and decide to sue me for sexual harassment by butt-grabbing!

This is really scary stuff.

For you guys who are doing this, stop! You are giving those of us who are genuinely innocent of butt grabbing sleepless nights.

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Submitted by : Get Real on 2018-07-28 21:09:18
"You know, there is something very wrong about this #MeToo movement where people are being tried by popular opinion. You can forget about innocent-until-proven-guilty – once you are exposed on social media your goose is cooked."
Nah! There was something very wrong when ladies didn't DARE tell of the abuse. This is WAY BETTER. All of you feeling sorry for big, strapping, rich males, get real!
How many ladies do you know (I mean actually personally know - your sister, your wife) who would like to state publicly that they were raped?
The rest of your post is good, but that sentence needed calling out, IMO.

Editor's Note
Yes, and no. In situations where the police and prosecuting authorities are totally inefective, doing nothing for years - e.g. the non-prosecution of Jacob Zuma re arms deal bribes and failure to render accurate tax returns for a decade, and those scores of women who lay rape and similar charges that never get beyond a "lost" police dossier – then publication is the only alternative route to some form of justice.

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