“Is my friend a rapist?” asks South African journalist, McKaisar following allegations against Wa Mamatu


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The Independent Online

The South African newspaper The Star has today published a compelling piece by Eusebius McKaiser which insightfully captures the complicated emotions experienced when a friend is accused of a sex crime.

"How do I square my love, admiration, and apparent knowledge of Wa Mamatu, and an ethical commitment to a presumption-of-innocence rule, with the volume of accusations spanning students from different generations, many of whom probably do not even know each other?" he asks in the piece.

As well as being a personal friend of media personality McKaiser, Wa Mamatu, a drama lecturer at Wits University in Johannesburg, has appeared several times on McKaiser's radio show to take part in debates.

McKaiser's dilemma is further complicated by the fact that he himself was also a victim of sexual abuse as a child "I would never lightly dismiss the volume of allegations. Who wants to sit in court for fun while being grilled about a rape accusation by a ruthless defence lawyer?"

This is not the first time the friend of an alleged rapist has opened up about their conflicted emotions. Agony Aunt Anne Atkins drew controversy and condemnation with an article in the Mail on Sunday last year, in which she discusses her decision not to report a predatory paedophile who was also a friend of the family.