MZANZI MAGIC- Isibaya 28/12/2018

Date: March 28, 2019
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Name of monitor: Sandiswa Manana
Name of television station: Mzansi Magic
Name of Programme: Isibaya
Date of broadcast: 28 Dec 2018
Time: 20:30-21:00
Genre: Drama
Theme: Social, GBV, Love and Hatred
GBV focus explicit or implicit? Explicit
GEM Classification: Gender Aware

Description of the Scene:
In this scene a rapist is confronted about his crimes and forced to tell the truth or face life threatening consequences. Mabuyi shot her rapist, Zembe and he is in hospital while she is in prison for her crime. Dabula, a village’s king is trying to negotiate with Zembe so that he will admit to raping Mabuyi and agree with the statement she gave the police so that she can go free. Dabula threatens Zembe so that he agrees to the deal.
This is a stand-alone incident but it is triggering to other women who bore witness. When Mabuyi finally admits that Zembe raped her, Kentucky (another female character) is touched. She was once raped as well, and she supports Mabuyi, encouraging her to be strong.
Why this classification:
This scene is gender aware because it deals directly with the issue of men supporting other men in the face of accusations. The scene looks at individuals seeking justice for a rapist’s crimes. It also addresses the common phrase “she wanted it” that rapists use to avoid consequences. Dabula forces the truth out of Zembe by threatening his life, again emphasising that rape is a heinous and unacceptable crime to commit. This threat emphasises its severity.
In cases of gender based violence it is often difficult for justice to take its due course for a number of reasons including victim blaming, delays in processing, and lack of evidence. Isibaya’s portrayal of justice is gender aware as it subverts the common notion that men support men. It is important that Dabula, as a man and Zembe’s friend, has chosen to side with Mabuyi. It is also important that he would go to the extent of threatening a man’s life to see justice served for Mabuyi. Although Mabuyi shot and injured her rapist, Dabula sees the crime as justified. This level of support for survivors of rape is not often shown on television and is rarely taken on by male characters.

The title of this episode is ‘Tell the Truth’. The title fits the storyline. It also validates Mabuyi’s allegations with the use of the word ‘truth’, implicitly showing its support for Mabuyi. It is relevant to the story.
GBV is the main focus of the episode. The way rape is framed in this episode adequately and seriously shows the severity of the crime. The community supports Mabuyi. There is disgust shown towards Zembe for what he has done. The scene in question is solely concerned with GBV and the way it is framed in conversation is empowering to the survivor. It also shows two men engaging in a discussion about GBV. Although the way that justice is served is against the law, the fact that a survivor is believed and a man is willing to threaten the rapist, who used to be his friend, is an important point to show the severity of the issue. It also shows that rape and GBV are issues that men should be addressing with other men.
People in the programming: Throughout the entire episode all men and women speak. They are all given a chance to speak. However, in most appearances, men are often viewed at the experts while females share their personal experiences.
The language used by Zembe about Mabuyi is common in cases of victim blaming. After Zembe raped Mabuyi, he showed no remorse and speaks with no empathy. He believes that she asked for it based on the way she talked to him and the way she walked when she saw him. Zembe feels like he was led on by this woman and had to act on that. When talking about this issue (sexual assault/GBV) Zembe as a perpetrator shows no sensitivity and he does not show remorse for his crime. This shows that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done by men with other men to tackle GBV. The fictional community of Bhubesini worked hard to uplift women and one man’s actions derailed their progress.
Women are portrayed as active survivors of GBV. Mabuyi took action by shooting her rapist. Mabuyi was given the choice of letting other men kill the rapist on her behalf but she took action herself.
Angles and Perspectives:
In this episode of Isibaya, women are willing to do anything to make their voices heard. It has become quite stereotypical that men do not listen to women, but women should always listen to men when they speak. For instance, Prosecutor Hlongwane never wanted to listen to Cebisile and was willing to let Mabuyi rot in jail. However, Cebisile with Dabula’s help made it a point that Hlongwane listen to her. Even after the community was mobilized with the involvement of men and women, there were men who wanted their word to be final and opposed the release of a woman who was assaulted from jail. However, when she was released many people were ecstatic especially women. Women in the episode are shown as people who always show a united front. Cebisile did not give up on Mabuyi even when she had lost faith and did not believe that she would be released from jail.
The cultural norms and patterns of oppression are reinforced in a way that favours women and not men. Usually men, especially African men, avoid talking about rape because they feel like it’s a norm that men must sleep with women and women have no right to oppose or show no interest. However, in this case many people including men show support towards the victimised woman and are against the fact that she was raped.
It should be noted that Isibaya could have also tackled the failure of the justice system in dealing with cases of rape. This could have been an opportunity to address that a lot of cases of rape go unreported as it is unlikely that rapists will be prosecuted due to the failures of our justice system and the stigma around coming forward as a survivor. However this episode tackled rape, masculinity and victim blaming in a way that was gender aware and addressed common stigmas and stereotypes.
Social Media Content:
Not enough data was gathered for analysis.

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