Grace Mugabe allegedly assaults SA model, Twitter calls for arrest

Update, 4.18pm: Grace Mugabe has reportedly fled to Harare after failing to appear in court.

Original article: A 20-year-old South African model has opened a case of assault against Zimbabwean first lady after she allegedly beat her with an extension cord in Sandton on Sunday, and Twitter is calling for justice.

Gabriella Engels told News24 she was with Mugabe’s two sons Robert and Chatunga in a hotel room when a bodyguard asked her to step into a separate room. In this room Engels says Mugabe accused her of living with her sons and beat her with an extension cord.

“Her ten bodyguards just stood there watching, no one did anything,” she said. “No one tried to help me.”

As a model, Engels says the scar left on her forehead will be damaging for her career.

Since news broke Monday night, Twitter users have called for Mugabe’s arrest, while a few have jumped to her defense. By Tuesday afternoon, the hashtag #GraceMugabe was trending in top place nationally.

Some claimed that Mugabe was just acting to protecting her son like all “African mothers”, while others found this argument lacking.

Some xenophobic comments also arose, though many were quick to point out that Mugabe was born in Benoni.

The incident is the latest in a string of violence against women by people in power this month, with Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana and political activist Shaka Sisulu accused of separate incidents of assault, while retired South African football player Marks Maponyane was recently found guilty of the same.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu-PF took to Twitter to rant about the incident, shame media and claim Mugabe as victim.

Grace Mugabe is expected in Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday afternoon. Because she was not in the country on official business, she can not be granted diplomatic immunity.

Edited to to rectify mistake that Mugabe was due at Randburg Magistrate’s Court, and not Wynberg.

Featured image: Peter Ndoro via Twitter



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