GBV is not only against women. Image via Adobe Stock

Cape Town fashion designer creates line to speak out against GBV

Gender-based violence (GBV) is sadly a pertinent issue in South Africa with three women killed every day at the hands of their partners, according to the country’s stats.


GBV is not only against women. Image via Adobe Stock

However, it’s not only women that are at the receiving end of GBV.

After a brutal attack in December last year, Cape Town designer Masimzukise Jack used his creativity to channel his trauma into something positive and began designing a line of cushions, totes, T-shirts, and other products to speak out against abuse and gender-based violence.

Eastern Cape-born Masimzukise Jack was violently attacked and almost beaten to death because of his sexuality when he visited his nephew at initiation school last year.

Using social media to relay his traumatic experience, Jack said that when he was beaten up because he disagreed with certain things happening at the initiation and he was told he had no right to speak on the “manly things” because he was gay.

Speaking on the abuse he endured, Jack said, “During that entire time, I blamed and questioned myself. Apparently, as a gay man, I have no right to speak on the ’manly things’ that happen at the mountain, even when they are wrong. I was supposed to keep quiet, let my nephew continue being mistreated, and know my place.

“It’s really sad that because I am gay, I apparently cannot speak out when I see our culture being disrespected by those so-called ’men’ who abuse our little brothers. Those who introduce them to drugs and violence instead of grooming them to be value-adding citizens in society.”

Using creativity to speak out against GBV

To deal with the trauma, Jack began to tell his story and speak out against gender-based violence by creating a clothing line that highlighted the wrongs of GBV and called out any form of abuse.

His line titled “Die Hard” includes designer T-shirts, totes, cushions, and other products with powerful messages like “ndixoleleni” which means “forgive me” and “by the grace of God I survived.”

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On the 27 of November 2019, I was so excited because my nephew was going to initiation school. I unfortunately couldn’t make it to send-away ceremony because I was not home. As soon as I arrived home, on the 1st of December, the first thing I did, was to go see him. Upon my arrival, he was alone and I could immediately tell that he was not okay and so I waited for his Caretaker (Inkhankatha). We waited for more than 2hours and yet he did not arrive, which to me was evidence of negligence and recklessness because a relatively new initiate needs to be attended to regularly. So, I took it about myself to help my nephew because he was clearly in pain, I guided and told him what he had to do. When his Caretaker finally arrived, I confronted him about his recklessness! Something he clearly didn’t like, especially coming from a gay man. He got aggressive and told me that I know nothing on the issue (which was quite funny, because, I too, am a man and had gone to initiation school). In any case, he told me that I may as well look after my nephew myself, since “I know so much”, he then went to his other initiates. I told my uncle about this and he went to confront him too, while I stayed behind with my nephew in his hut. This must have angered him even more, because a few moments later he came back with a mob of his friends, one of them with an exe, they didn’t even ask questions, they dragged me out of the hut and as I attempted to run, I felt the exe hit my head. I helplessly laid there, still very much conscious, watching as more than 10 grown men had their way with me, name-calling, kicking and beating me with rods. The Caretaker even called some of his other initiates to join in. My 65-year-old uncle was shoved out of the way and couldn’t do anything. I saw my nephew crying as he witnessed the horrible site of his bleeding uncle, being beaten. They got tired and eventually stopped. They even took my phone and the money I had with. Through all of that, I was asking for forgiveness from them for something I don’t even know and praying to God. I was so relieved when I saw a police van and a car coming….. to be continued❤️

A post shared by Tase Jack (@tasejack_) on

Masimzukise Jack has received support from the social media community, as well as local celebrities like actress Lusanda Mbane and radio personality Unathi Msengana.