Why Speak Now is a campaign aimed at empowering women to find their voice and speak out against gender-based violence and domestic abuse. Steve “Kalamazoo” Mokone, was South Africa’s first black professional soccer player to break the color barrier during apartheid by playing overseas in Europe which was an extraordinary achievement back then. Unfortunately, he was also a violent husband and abusive father who was incarcerated 1978-1990 in the United States for the atrocious assault on his then wife using lye and blinding and disfiguring her female attorney using sulfuric acid. Since his passing in March and for the first time in her life his daughter Thandi Mokone Chase feels free to acknowledge the reality of it all;
Thandi has decided to speak now and share her very personal and painful account of growing up with her father following the national commemoration of her father’s life at South Africa’s FNB stadium where the 2010 World Cup Final was held. The man who was being glorified for his international soccer achievements and hailed as “a national asset” and a “hidden hero” was a stark contradiction of the man she grew up with as a father and a husband. The adulation of her father brought back many painful memories and catapulted her to turn off the mute button and speak out for the very first time. Like so many individuals who grow up with domestic violence, there is a lot of shame and fear involved so often people feel silenced. As a child, she was compelled to keep quiet in order to avoid retribution from her father because people who crossed him were battered, maimed, brutalized or disfigured. WSN wants people to know that speaking out is a process and everyone finds their voice differently. “It was not easy speaking out and it took me a long time- it’s a gradual process. So I wanted to create a platform in WSN for the countless number of other voiceless women to feel seen and heard and to know that I’m listening even when it’s unsafe for them to voice their experience.”
So when people ask me “Why Speak Now?” I say to them because I can. There is a measure of safety now for me so I that I can speak out and an adult awareness of what happened.
WSN would like to empower survivors to turn off the mute button, to find their voice and join the global conversation about violence against women and children at the hands of professional athletes who are glorified by society. To join our community #WhySpeakNow and share your story or thoughts.
I welcome women’s voices and I can appreciate that some women will choose to remain mute because it is in their best interest.