Brian Simiso Zwane, better known as the South African rapper and producerOkmalumkoolkat, has been arrested and jailed in Hobart, Tasmania for sexual misconduct against a fellow artist who was asleep in her hotel room.
According to The Mercury (Hobart), where the story first broke, Zwane was arrested and charged on Saturday and has been in custody since. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to the charges. He’s been sentenced to a month in jail despite his defense pushing for a fine so he could leave Tasmania today.
Okayafrica has received an official statement fromStamp Communications(Okmalumkoolkat’s PR agency) and Simiso Zwane aka Okmalumkoolkat’s Management:
At this stage, we have limited information regarding the judgement on Simiso Zwane in Australia, but with no previous legal charges or history of any violence whatsoever and knowing Simiso as we and most of you all do, we can say that the news comes as a huge surprise and one which has truly rocked us all. Having said this, we are by no means disputing the woman’s claims which are taken incredibly seriously and must abide by the courts ruling. Our thoughts are with all affected and who will continue to be affected by this terrible situation.
We will update you on the progress of this incident. Your patience during this period will be greatly appreciated. We ask that all queries be directed to his PR Team at Stamp Communications.
Zwane was in Hobart, Tasmania, to perform at the city’s MONA FOMA music festival last Friday night. As The Mercury reports:
The court heard after the show he went out drinking with friends. He returned to his hotel about 5.30am but was drunk and unable to find his way into the Old Woolstore, the court heard.
Crown prosecutor Rebecca Lancaster said he entered the victim’s hotel room through an external sliding door that she had inadvertently left ajar.
The victim woke to find Zwane, a complete stranger, in her bed kissing her neck and rubbing his hands over her private parts. He then told her “don’t make any noise”, Ms Lancaster said. Zwane stopped after the victim, who can’t be identified, told him to leave and had to show him the way out.
“This must have been extremely frightening,” Ms Lancaster said. “This is a huge violation … in an environment where she ought to have felt secure and safe.”
She said the fact the victim was asleep was an aggravating factor because not only could she not consent, she could not physically repel him.
Lawyer Steven Chopping said Zwane was “remorseful, ashamed and embarrassed” by the crime and had been jet-lagged, intoxicated and confused at the time. When Zwane got to the hotel he had become separated from his companions and couldn’t get into the building, he said. He entered the victim’s room in a bid to access the rest of the accommodation not sexually abuse her.