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As the Youth Month marking the 40th Anniversary of June 16, 1976 starts, the EFF opened it with Lerato Kganyago as our Woman Crush Wednesday. Lerato Kganyago is a young black woman radio host at Metro FM and TV presenter who during the Africa month, was publicly shamed by the white owned True Love Magazine.

In an attempt to counter a legitimate complaint that the magazine had over edited her front page picture, they published her unedited photos in oder to publicly shame her. True Love did this to a young black woman, during a month when the plight of the African people in the world had occupied a centre stage. This not only demonstrates their absolute disregard of the public politics of Africa month, but also a commitment to reaffirm the racist colonial representation of African women bodies as objects of shame.

What True Love magazine did with the body of Lerato Kganyago is not different to what colonialists did with the body of Saartjie Baartman. Saartjie Baartman’s body was displayed as a freak show for white people to come and observe in entertainment and at times for scientific marvel. Her body represented the body of all black women and what the colonial world thinks of it; an object of a freak show.

True Love did not only disrespect and shame Lerato Kganyago, but all black women out there whose bodies are never respected and whose consent is not important for how they are represented. There are many younger black women out there who look up to Lerato Kganyago and True Love should have thought of them it sought to shame her.

True Love must know that we are proud of black women’s bodies because the black nation is nothing without them. Publicly shaming black bodies is to shame the very essence of the black nation whose existence is only possible because of black women bodies. We condemn True Love as anti-black racists and as an anti-black women magazine. To us, Lerato Kganyago and many black women like her all over the world, will always be Temples of black beauty.

True Love is part of the Media 24 group which was founded by Naspers. Less than a year ago, Naspers published an apology for its part in the sustenance of the apartheid ideology. This is because Naspers was supported through apartheid money to constitute the very anti-black ideology that segregated, discriminated and shamed black people. Through what True Love did to Lerato Kganyago, this apology has been rendered impotent, undermined by shaming a black woman’s body.

If the matter involved a white body, or even a male body, True Love would have never chosen to publicly shame it. It has therefore undermined the struggle for the dignification of black female bodies in a country that remains hostile and violent to black women. True Love has demonstrated that it is part of the rape culture that has affected our society like a cancer, and which relies on public shaming of black female bodies. This public shaming of black female bodies contributes to their objectification, disrespect and general violence.

We hope that the owners of Naspers will act on the editor for this reckless, racist and anti-black women decision and offer a comprehensive public apology to Lerato Kganyago and all black women.

In this youth month, we therefore begin by reclaiming the black youth struggle as a struggle of black young women like Lerato Kganyago. The demand is that their bodies be respected and treated with dignity, both in private and in public.


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