Remember Naledi Phangindawo

By: L Gobozi

Even at the peak of gender-based-violence, there remains a social stigma of GBV, which further victimises the victims of gender-based-violence. It is almost as if there is nowhere to go, but further down. Today, we remember Naledi Phangindawo, a 26 year old woman who died at the hands of an abusive ex-boyfriend. According to a family member, the former couple had a history of abuse.

IOL news described Naledi as a “local entrepreneur and health enthusiast”. She was the mother of three children, ages 6, 4 and 2. The suspect was the father of her 2 younger kids. Naledi was afraid of her ex-boyfriend, she had a protection order out against him after he had tried to get back together with her. When Naledi rejected Ntlangula’s attempts to get back together, he bit her on the chin and broke her finger.

According to Mossel Bay Advertiser, Naledi Phangindawo “died of multiple wounds at a local hospital on Saturday, 06 June 2020, after Mondli Ntlangula (34) allegedly attacked her with a knife and an axe”. Naledi’s sister said that a relative of the ex-boyfriend had called and lured Naledi to the place where she ended up being stabbed and hacked all over her body and face.

Social norms and cultural beliefs about gender based violence have a way of further victimising the victims and survivors of gender-based-violence. Will we ever talk about the family member who lured Naledi to her death? What was the intention? Was he encouraging the abusive behaviour of his relative? Do we know what motivated his actions? Does he even care? Is there a crime in what he did? What is our legal system doing to reprimand the people who aid and assist the perpetrators? What do we do to reprimand the victim blamers who make young womxn feel ashamed to report gender-based-violence?

I have an idea of the conversation Mondli Ntlangula could have had with his relative, before he convinced him to lure Naledi to her death. I can imagine the justifications from a fragile ego, the unwillingness to believe a woman when she says “no”, because toxic masculinity has made us believe that a woman can never really think for herself. The lies exchanged between the two reletives, to convince each other that what they were about to do was acceptable.

How could anyone think it is okay to lure a womxn to meet a man she had just taken a protection order against? No one thinks of the implications of these actions- certainly not a man with a bruised ego- until we are standing outside a court screaming #JusticeforNaledi.

Maybe, as we remember Naledi Phangindawo, we need to get her justice by checking ourselves. Make the unpopular decision and call your friend out. Tell your friends when they are displaying abusive behaviour, fix the conversations you have. Instead of telling a young man that a woman needs to be persuaded and convinced, tell him that “no means no” even if it comes with a smile, and that he should take it seriously.

At the same time when the streets of social media were buzzing with the hashtag #JusticeForNaledi, a similar hashtag #JusticeForTshego followed. In the same week, 28 year old Tshegofatso Pule was found stabbed and hanging from a tree in a veld in Roodepoort, Gauteng. Another young woman who died at the hands of an intimate partner. May we always remember them, and remember to get them justice by standing against social culture that normalises gender-based-violence in our own circle, homes and our own communities. Today, we #RememberNalediPhangindawo.

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