Fanwell Khumalo taken back to his hunting grounds; In the devil’s kitchen

Date: January 1, 1970
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The two articles are about Fanwell Khumalo, a top chef who is been raping young girls between the age of seven and fourteen. This has been happening for many years in places like Berea, Hillbrow and Alexandra in Johannesburg. He is now being found guilty with 103 charges out of 132.

This article may be used to:
1. illustrate how media often uses stereotypical and insensitive language when reporting on rape cases;
2. provide an example of the justice system working for survivors of violence;
3. engage in debate around levels of abuse; and
4. illustrate how celebrities are often used to sensationalise or give particular weight to an issue.
Trainer’s notes
These articles, although it does provide an example of the justice system working for victims and survivors of violence, are problematic for several reasons. While it is true that Fanwell Khumalo committed ruthless crimes, these articles both sensationalise the events and engender the stereotypical ‘predator-prey’ dichotomy so often seen in stories of gender-based violence.
Both articles contain words like ‘monster’, ‘hunting grounds’, ‘devil’ and ‘prey’ that portray Khumalo as more of animal than human. This is a common portrayal of perpetrators of gender based violence, and makes the acts he committed appear unusual, uncommon and isolated. It also causes a disconntect between the person and the actions committed. In this case that it particularly true, as Khumalo is described as a mild-mannered person, and in fact is compared to Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, further separating him from the crimes. This kind of language is also insensitive to the families of the children who were raped. It treats the survivors like prey rather than children and young women – sitting ducks waiting to be pounced on.
The article “In the devil’s kitchen” is particularly sensational as it focuses more on the fact that he cooked for celebrities than on the actual crimes and their effects on the families. This is a classic example of how stardom is used to add weight to an event or incident, implying that somehow Khumalo’s crimes are more heinous because he was connected with celebrities than if he had no high-profile connections. The celebrities had nothing to do with the crimes, yet they become the focus of the article – especially in terms of images.
The articles give little context regarding the high levels of violent sexual crime in South Africa, and do not say enough about the rights for women and children and how they should be protected. They also say very little about how the families affected are dealing with the trauma. Have they received counseling? Are they recovering? Who has been supporting them? The conviction is a positive outcome, and comments quoted from the judge do indicate just how seriously the courts are taking Khumalo’s crimes. However, will sentencing bring change to the families of the victims?
Discussion Questions
1.  How are rape cases usually reported in the media? Are they treated as isolated incidents or part of a larger problem? Are the survivors treated fairly?
2. Does the justice system usually work in cases of gender based violence? Why or why not?
3. Why do you think the media focused on Khumalo’s celebrity connections? Why does a person’s celebrity status seem to make their crimes (or good deeds) more important that other people’s?
4. What could be done to make this article more balanced and gender aware?
Training Exercises
1. Rewrite one of the articles from a more gender aware perspective. Be mindful of language use and your portrayal of both Khumalo and the families affected.
2. Do some research into rape statistics – how many rapes occur each year, how many are reported, how many go to court and result in convictions. Why do you think so few cases (in comparison with the number of estimated rapes) result in convictions?
3. We read a lot about men committing crimes, but not much about ways they are preventing them. Write an article profiling men in your community working to end violence.
Related GL Commentaries

Download : Fanwell Khumalos taken back to his hunting grounds
Download : In the devils kitchen

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