Investigation underway as lecturer resigns over racial row

The lecturer has quit after blogging that "the rape of babies is a cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups".

The lecturer has quit after blogging that "the rape of babies is a cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups".

Pretoria University spokesperson Nicolize Mulder told the Times that lecturer Louise Mabille had resigned and that an investigation was underway, but added on Friday that she was writing in her personal capacity.

Mabille wrote on the Afrikaans website Praag: "Naturally, it is much easier to endlessly complain about 'Calvinism' than to ask the question on why the rape of babies is a cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups."

Mabille, who resigned with immediate effect on Thursday night, told the newspaper she "deeply regrets having written the piece and causing harm or pain to anyone".

Spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission Isaac Mangena said it, too, would investigate. Asked if the article amounted to hate speech, he said to the Times that "on face value it appears so. However, until the context of what was written has been studied it cannot be said for sure."

According to the daily, Praag executive editor Dan Roodt said Mabille's blog post was "forthright and challenging".

'Hate speech'
"The notion that her piece could be hate speech is preposterous. If so, then the speech of Deputy President Motlanthe at the National Men's Rally was also 'hate speech'," he said, adding that he was shocked by news of her resignation.

"Motlanthe, according to the SABC, said 'men must not use culture to perpetuate violence against women and children'. In passing, Mabille refers to the myth among some black South African men that raping children or babies would cure one of Aids, which the Rape Crisis Centre also refers to."

Mabille and Motlanthe converged on the issue, that culture should not engender violence against women, especially girls and even babies, he said.

According to the report, Roodt said Praag commissioned the piece as it was "concerned about the horrific sexual violence in South Africa. We believe there should be a national debate: intellectual and analytical." – Sapa; Staff Reporter

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