Assault of Female Radio DJ Ignites Zimbabwe Gender Violence Debate

The assault of a popular radio DJ has brought debate about violence against women in Zimbabwe. Tinopona Katsande, a DJ with privately owned ZiFM, posted pictures of herself on Twitter and Facebook after she was assaulted by her boyfriend.

The pictures showing her swollen face were both praised and criticised on social media, bringing into focus what is a growing social problem in Zimbabwe.

Tinopona Katsande, a DJ with the privately owned ZiFM, shared this photo online showing how her boyfriend brutally assaulted her. Photo courtesy of Tinopona Katsande.

Tinopona Katsande, a DJ with the privately owned ZiFM, shared this photo online showing how her boyfriend brutally assaulted her. Photo courtesy of Tinopona Katsande.

Popularly known as TinTin, Katsande who is also a former actress in a popular TV soap shown on the national broadcaster, posted a statement on her Facebook page:

On Sunday the 11th of November 2012, I joined an alarming and ever increasing group of women who are victims of GBV in Zimbabwe.I speak to you now with chipped teeth, bruised ribs, swollen face, blood shot eyes, patches of uprooted hair from the pulling and a heavy heart BUT, I will also hasten to say that I write this statement because I’m alive. I’m a survivor but unfortunately that can’t be said for a lot of women. Im not an exception, I have unfortunately become the norm. According to the 2005/6 (Zimbabwe Demographic and health survey) ZDHS nearly 6 in every 10 women surveyed reported having experienced some violence perpetrated against them. I want to thank everyone who is standing by me during this terrible time but I also ask you to not make it only about Tino.We are on the precipice of the beginning of the 16 days of activism against gender violence. Lets band together and SAY NO TO VIOLENCE. Some people keep telling me not to talk about it. Some said keep it at home and ma”domestic”.Someone even said “Chakafukidza dzimba matenga [What you see ain’t what you always get] and I must keep it quiet. I will not keep quiet, I will never keep quiet.


Online reactions

Twitter user @nqabamatshazi explained the cause of the conflict:

@nqabamatshazi: Former Studio 263 actress Tino Katsande, known as Joyce, was beaten to a pulp after she asked her man to do dishes, while she cleaned.

Netizen Elizabeth Gandah's initial reaction was that it was wrong for Tino to share the story with the world. However, she later changed her mind and congratulated her on Facebook:

When i first saw this i thought oh Tino she shouldnt have shared this with the world coz people will share both good and bad comments but i have realised i was wrong, she was courageous enough to represent the countless women and men who are being abused in relationships. Whatever happens in your relationship wether one is wrong or correct , wether provoked or what no one has a right to lay their hands on another. Just this year we saw Monalisa Chinomona's gruesome murder due to this kind of anger. We need strict measures to fight this evil that has come into our relationships. Love is a wonderful thing akomana, lets not abuse it. To Tino i say welldone girl u r a hero let them judge u or wateva but above all you have played ur part in the fight against domestic violence. May God heal you physically and emotionally.

Bongzmotswana Vincent said Tino's boyfriend deserves to rot in jail for the attack:

I hate males who abuse female checkout this picture lyk how can u lift your hand 2beat up a woman who ever did this deservs 2rot in jail lyk if u agains woman abuse @TinTin263:

Whilst Tumai Chitava Nyasuro wrote:

There's no excuse for violence against women.

Sarah Chishiri-Bosha saluted Tino for not sharing her story publicly:

Tino you are a strong woman and I salute you for not cowering or hiding you have nothing to be ashamed of, the abusive guy should be ashamed!

Chris Nyamandi noted that many women suffer in silence:

Tino is a really strong woman… many just suffer in silence whilst being brutalised beyond measure!

Meanwhile Watson Chiyangwa challenged Tino's boyfriend:

Get well soon Tin tin if u can give me a one on one fight with your man I will teach him a lesson . Tell him to come a pick up someone of his size and surely I will give him a good size .TK my man tell me you r going to let this pass .Get well soon my TinTin.

But not everyone was sympathetic.

Nyasha Chaps thought asking a man to do the dishes was alien to African culture:

Tinopona … Unowanza chiSALAD!!! pasina futi like foreal. [You are too Americanised] i like you but girrrrrrrl….!! my parents have been married 28yrs not once did i ever hear my mom ask my dad for help! and he is the sweetest person im sure he would oblige but c'mon chero ndiwewo. Momz ndopavachazo kumbira mdara kusuka maplates like TF ?! [Come on even you. My mother surely cannot ask my dad to do the dishes?] you have no home training!! He really went ham on your ass [attacked you badly], and i dont condone any form of domestic violence in any way shape or form, but i sense that since youve appeared on 263 [film studio], and youre on national radio, you think you have “arrived”. NO MAAM. zvana miss independent bla bla bla has its place too dear and thats not in a home where you as a woman should manage with simple household chores, besides you shoulda known your man darling. Get well soon tho but chisalad chachibhadhare !!! [Being American does not work] point blank and the period [full stop]!!!!!!!

Norman Mpofu added in the local Shona language:

beaten by a boyfriend…..kikiki …mapoto muchinyanyawo vana sister. unogarirei nemunhu asina kuroora [Too much of these live-in relationships. Why do you stay with someone you are not married to].

According to UNICEF, Zimbabwe's increase in gender-based violence appears to have arisen from traditional practices and principles that include the subjugation of women, whereby it is culturally permissible for a man to physically “discipline” his wife and children.

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