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Cici on her abusive relationship: 'I should have walked away'

2018-08-05 07:31
Cici
Young and gifted singer Cici will start all over again. (Photo: Jan Right)

Johannesburg - Singer Busisiwe “Cici” Thwala has encouraged women to break their silence and have the courage to walk away from an abusive relationship.

After being acquitted on assault charges laid by her former boyfriend, kwaito artist and music producer Arthur Mafokate, Cici said she would now focus on warning women about the dangers of remaining in an abusive relationship – and of the need to get out.

“Do not ignore the signs,” she said, following her acquittal on Monday.

“If you are already caught in an abusive relationship, acquire the courage to walk away. Never be afraid of judgement and never be scared to start over.”

Asked how she felt after the ruling, Thwala said: “It is a great relief. It gives me an opportunity to focus on things that can grow me as an individual. I just released a project titled Busisiwe and I need to focus on promoting it.”

The singer believes her story will be an inspiration to other women who have suffered abuse, particularly during Women’s Month.

On Monday, Magistrate Lieland Poonsamy found Thwala not found guilty at the Midrand Magistrate’s Court, saying Mafokate’s affidavit had been vague.

Mafokate and Thwala had opened charges of assault against each other over an incident that had occurred early last year.

Thwala accused Mafokate of assault, while he laid a counter-charge of assault against her, alleging that she had hit him with a coat hanger and a steel chair, and bit his arms during a scuffle at his home.

However, these details by Mafokate were only mentioned during cross-examination, not in his original statement. The magistrate ruled that the producer had been unclear about an assault having occurred.

In contrast, Thwala had remained consistent in her version of events, which is said to have played a huge role in her court victory.

“When you speak the truth, there is nothing else to be said but the truth, hence my song titled Iqiniso,” said Thwala.

The violent altercation resulted in Thwala suffering physical injuries, including a broken pelvis.

The singer said she was unable to discuss the events leading to her injuries as her case against Mafokate was still pending. She added that she was not sure if she would be able to have children as a result.

(Award-winning musician Busisiwe Thwala. Photo: Tankiso Khumalo)

“If it happens, I will have a challenging pregnancy, judging from the horrible pains I usually have after my performances. The doctor said I will never be able to carry a baby to full term.”

Thwala said violence perpetrated against women and children was harming society and that more efforts should be made to put perpetrators behind bars. She pointed out that signs of abuse are always there, but “we tend to ignore them”.

“I think that, as women, we tend to ignore certain behavioural patterns from partners, hoping our love is big enough to shift them towards the right direction, until it’s too late.”

She admitted that being in an abusive relationship had affected her self-esteem.

“I was told I that I am not good enough and eventually, I started believing it.”

Although she was going through a tough time in her relationship, added Thwala, she had learnt to keep it to herself and only share her pain with people close to her, like her sisters, as she trusted them and knew they would not judge her.

“Sometimes it is difficult to air your dirty laundry in public because some people tend to judge you as they assume you are living a perfect life. That is why us most of us who are in the limelight prefer to deal with our personal matters privately. We always try to avoid drawing bad and unnecessary attention.”

Thwala said it was only when she realised that she was losing her identity that she decided that she wanted to get out of the abusive relationship. Also, she realised at some point that her life and career were under threat.

“The verbal abuse turned into physical abuse, and I knew it was time to leave,” she revealed.

Although she tried to leave her then boyfriend many times, she said it was hard to do so because he would convince her to stay, promising that he would change for the better. And even though she wanted out, Thwala added, she had to first consider her singing career and financial security.

When asked why it took so long for her to speak out about her abusive relationship, she said: “I did not decide to speak about it, but discovered while I was in hospital [receiving treatment for her injuries] that certain stories were circulating in the media about me. I was left with no choice but to face it all, and deal with all the lies that were out there about me.

She has since encouraged women to speak out.

When we contacted Mafokate’s lawyer, Bongani Khoza, he could not respond to our messages and calls.

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