The South African Minister of Women, Children and people with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana on Monday called for the arrest of Bissau Gaobakwe for allegedly assaulting South African soapie actress Rosie Motene in Gaborone over the weekend.
The minister’s call comes amid indication that Motene, who is a vocal activist for NGOs fighting abuse of women, may turn the bar incident into fodder for a gender abuse campaign. The South African Minister was quoted in the pro-government newspaper, The New Age calling for “the arrest of the man responsible for attacking the actress and women’s right activist.”
The South African International Relations and Cooperation Department has also called on the government of Botswana to investigate the incident. International Relations and Cooperation Department spokesman Clayson Monyela, however, told the South African media on Sunday that it would be up to Motene to decide if a criminal complaint would be made to the Botswana police.
Motene, who was in Gaborone on business, told the South African media that after the assault she had tried to press charges but did not know the man’s name.
“I now know his name so when the Botswana police phone me I will give it to them,” Motene said.
The actress, who starred in the soapie Generations , has been a vocal supporter and activist for NGOs fighting abuse of women. She said that she joined People Opposed to Women Abuse after being assaulted while at university.
She said on Friday night that a friend had invited her to a party in Gaborone. “This guy came out of nowhere and as I turned around he punched me in the face. I heard a pop and that is all I remember.
“We told the management and security but they refused to do anything. He is some kind of a big shot. The son of a minister or something,” she said.
On Saturday, she tweeted: “I need assistance from SA! I was beaten in Botswana and currently in Bokamoso hospital! Police won’t come and I need assistance! NO JOKE.”
Motene said she had a sinus operation in October: “We are waiting for the swelling to go down. I’ll see this week if I have to have the operation redone.” On her blog she wrote that she was taken to hospital and while she was waiting for the surgeon a senior official from the South African High Commission arrived and called the police. She said that the doctor on duty had told her that she did not need treatment but returned when the high commission official intervened.
The Bokamoso hospital confirmed that Motene had been treated there and discharged, but refused to respond to the actress’s allegations.