Musician Smarh convicted of rape


FRANCISTOWN: An Afro-pop musician based in the diamond mining village of Letlhakane, Gibson Matlakala has joined the music Hall of Shame after he was recently convicted on one count of rape.

Matlakala allegedly raped his 26-year-old maid on November 9, 2020, at or near Bull Bull in Letlhakane. Matlakala, who is popularly known as Smarh in music circles, has joined a list of discredited local and international musicians following his conviction. Locally, Smarh joins the infamous list of convicted rapists such as Othaathusa Tshipa also known as Deben Natale in entertainment circles who served 10 years in jail for raping a 16-year-old girl in 2007. Also on the list is Ditiro ‘DT Leero’ who spent six years in the slammer for raping a 14-year-old girl in 2006. On the international scene, American R&B singer, R Kelly, is probably the most disgraced artist in the world following his conviction for sexual abuse charges. When delivering judgement against the Malobolo hit maker, Senior Magistrate Kelebogile Matlhodi said the complainant testified that she was previously hired by Smarh and his girlfriend at their dwelling house as a maid and she respected them like parents. The complainant said within two months of working there, she started to experience some friction or bad blood or bad energy from the accused, but she tried ignoring it. She said the accused would brush himself against her body and would tell her that he loves her body structure. The complainant told the court that on November 11, 2020, in the morning whilst cleaning the children’s room, the accused came into the room wrapped only in a towel and he started to touch her. "She said she left the bedroom but he followed her to the storeroom. She also said the accused undressed her and inserted his finger into her private part but she relaxed to avoid the possibility of being bruised. She said the accused then had his way with her,” said Matlhodi.

The complainant testified that she informed her mother about what transpired and the matter was reported to the police while the police took her to the hospital. “Of note was the disturbing state of mind of the complainant when narrating the events of the alleged incident. This witness was overcome with emotion so much that the court had to adjourn to give her the opportunity to compose herself. In cross-examination, the issue of the exact time the complainant called her mother cropped up and the witness confirmed that she called her mother in the morning though the times she stated differed. She also said she was serving notice though she continued with her employment even after the lapse of the notice period,” Matlhodi stated. The complainant’s mother stated that there was a time that the complainant called her informing her that every time the accused’s girlfriend departed for work, the accused would come to the living room wearing a towel, said Matlhodi.

Editor's Comment
GBV: The big elephant in the room

Sadly, the country seems not to have proper tools and the extent to which women and the girl-child are being abused is not adequately measured.Almost every week there are reports of women being attacked by their significant others and while men are attacked as well, women seem to be more on the receiving end.On May 24, 2023 news broke that a woman who was receiving support from the Botswana Gender-Based Violence Prevention Centre in Gaborone, was...

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