Congolese star, Koffi Olomidé faces backlash over rape conviction ahead of SA tour

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation wants Olomidé's tour stopped saying he has a documented history of showing violence towards women. Picture: Evrard Ngendakumana/Xinhua.

Cape Town – Congolese superstar rumba and soukous singer Koffi Olomidé, who was sentenced in absentia after a court in France found him guilty of the statutory rape of one of his former dancers when she was 15, is facing a backlash ahead of his upcoming tour to South Africa.

The 62-year-old singer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence by a court in France in March this year. The singer, whose real name is, Antoine Agbepa Mumba, was also ordered to pay 5,000 euros (US $5,700) in damages to the former dancer.

The Loi hit maker is scheduled to perform at  the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Friday 28 June and at the Shimmy Beach Club in Cape Town on Sunday 30 June.

However, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in South Africa, which says Olomidé the “Rumba King is a Rape King”, wants the tour stopped.

The CSVR said the Congolose musician and convicted rapist has a documented history of committing violence that is often directed at women.

On Tuesday, Shimmy Beach Club did however reveal that they have cancelled Olomidé’s upcoming performance saying: “Please note that Shimmy Beach will no longer be hosting Koffi Olomide. We made the decision to cancel the show last week.”

CSVR, together with some 36 other organisations based in South Africa – including women entities and unions – have written to the SA government to stop the tour completely.

They have sent letters to the Presidency and ministers of Home Affairs, Justice and Correctional Service and Arts and Culture requesting denial of Olomide’s entry into the country, cancellation of all his shows, a public statement by the relevant government department notifying the public that a decision has been taken to revoke the invite and co-operation with Zambian authorities in the event that they request his extradition and arrest upon arrival.

Last year Zambian authorities ordered Olomidé’s arrest after he allegedly assaulted a photographer in that country.”

“If a visa has been granted, we request that it must be cancelled,” demanded the CSVR

“In the unlikely event that government fails to meet our demands, we intend to stage protests in Johannesburg and Cape Town in order to ensure that Koffi Olomidé is stopped from performing in this country.”

The demands have been endorsed by the following organisations:
1. #StopKoffiOlomide
2. We Are Nomzamo
3. OXFAM, South Africa
4. Lesaka La Basadi
5. The Wise Collective
6. Rise-Up Against GBV
7. Black Women’s Caucus
8. South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID)
9. #TheTotalShutdown
10. Soul City
11. African Diaspora Forum Women’s League
12. Stop Gender-Based Violence/NSP
13. South African Men Action Group
14. Stop the Genocide
15. Azanian Women Remember
16. One in Nine Campaign
17. Feminist Women’s Art Network
18. Tosunga Baninga
19. Stop Gender Based Violence lifeline SA
20. Women Leadership Social Empowerment
21. Passover Community Building Organisation
22. African Diaspora Workers Network
23. Forum for the Empowerment of Women
24. National Shelter Movement
25. Action Aid South Africa
26. Lifeline SA
27. Women and Girls Leadership Foundation
28. Remmoho Women’s Forum
29. Gender Links
30. Sonke Gender Justice
31. Nisaa Institute
32. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
33. Amabali Wethu
34. Access Chapter 2
35. 360 Degree Environment Organisation
36. Women’s Legal Centre
37. South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU)

African News Agency (ANA)