Former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Asavela Mbekile has posed several thought-provoking questions in an open letter to South Africans.
The continuous rise of gender-based violence (GBV) witnessed throughout the Covid-19 lockdown has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many – footballers included.
Many public figures have condemned the atrocious acts of rape and killing of women, and Mbekile has since used his voice by penning an open letter to his countryman.
'Shoes', who now plies his trade with Stellenbosch FC, has used his platform as a professional footballer that many look up to, to rebuke the ills mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and families are faced with at present.
“I am sorry that I’ve put fear into your life. I am sorry that you feel unsafe around me even though I was meant to love and care for you,” wrote Mbekile.
“I am sorry that I am the reason for your death even though you gave birth to me. I am ashamed to call myself a man when so many of you are dying because of these hands.
“Your tears weren’t what we were supposed to see. I was raised by a strong woman [sis Thandi] who had nothing but did everything in her power to make sure I had everything.
“I have nothing but love from her, now I fear that she may go to the shops and never come back. I worry about my cousins too. When they go out to meet their friends and partners, I am worried that it may be the last time I see them.
“I am left with so many questions: Will I see them again? Do I wave goodbye? I worry about my beautiful wife when she goes to work.
“Work or at home these women are not safe. What is the future without women? Who will care for us when they are not around?
“Who will point us in the right direction when we are lost or confused? What have they done to deserve so much hate and violence from us?
“I know these are difficult and unbearable times for you. I also know that you don’t trust me, but I am with you. Even though I will never know your pain, your cry keeps me awake at night.
“I beg you South Africa to stop this violence against the only people who have nothing but love for all of us.”