“Don’t let anyone speak for you, and don’t rely on others to fight for you.” —Michelle Obama
Dear Cassy Bagoes
I never thought I would be writing an open letter to anyone in my life – but here I am, drawn out of my comfort zone. My motherly instincts can no longer remain silent. As they say in isiZulu, Wathinta umama, Wathinta Imbokodo!
Let us begin. In 2016/7, you had the privilege of meeting my gorgeous and very talented and bright daughter, Simone at the National Children’s Art Theater. A relationship that first started with you as her stage manager, which later developed into a “mom” “Simone Bagoes” relationship. From your communications, you gladly allowed her to reduce and refer to me as” the bitch” while you subtly encouraged and enjoyed the elevated status of being called mom – despite your 8 year age difference. Viewing this from a different perspective, the thought of an 8 yr old mother is highly disturbing. Back to the point. Once you managed to gain my daughter’s trust and approval, you then tried to influence her into getting rid of me from her life. Yes, by getting me locked up for crimes I did not commit. You first advised her to “divorce your parents” and since this process took too long, you then urged her to gather evidence that will enable you to get me locked up on her behalf for child abuse. When your attempts failed, you brainwashed and poisoned her mind into hating me, and convinced her that soon she will be of legal age – she will then be free to leave home and do whatever pleases her. You were busy doing all of this while I was focused on providing the best for my children, single-handedly.
To achieve your plans you recruited an ally. Who is better to bring on board than Simone’s abusive and absent father? Well played Cassy! For your information, did you know that your teammate is an illegal immigrant from England? Yep it is easy for African immigrants to be deported back to their countries than for an Englishman who has overstayed his welcomed in a country for over 10 years without any consequences. Sorry for diverting, I needed a little rant about that – but most importantly, your ally and teammate abused me during our 15-year marriage. I bet he did not tell you this, or did he? If not, cheers to that – now you know! As I write this letter to you, he continues to financially deprive his children. Remains physically and emotionally absent from them. Moreover, he continues with his psychological warfare against me, which begun more than 18 years ago, and which you have become a party to. One needs to look no further than your "unholy" alliance with him to prove my claim. I wanted you to know this because regardless of your previous knowledge of some aspects of the ex relationship dynamics – your allegiance against me remains stronger than ever. Am I correct to assume that you consciously/or subconsciously side with him because you were socialized to believe in white supremacy over people of color? Alternatively, perhaps you are a racist in the closet? Maybe you are one of those women whom from a young age, men in their families dominated everything, the space and conversation. Alternatively, maybe, just maybe, your religion (if you follow any) taught you that men are superior to women; they ascended from a lofty state and are charged with guiding, protecting and speaking on behalf of women?
Your continued allegiance with my ex abuser is truly puzzling because in one of your social media posts, you quote Audre Lorde of “not being free while any women is unfree – even if her shackles are different from mine own”. What does this mean to you? For me it means that as women, we must challenge oppressive and biased norms, sexist practices and patriarchal structures that continually devalue women and excludes them. Women must stand in solidarity with each other — those we know and those we do not. Now, coming back to my point. Have you ever questioned yourself why you have taken sides with the men who abused me for years? The fact that you have never reached out to know me as a person or to understand the shackles I was in, speaks volumes. Instead, you were instrumental in furthering the oppression and in tightening the shackles with your continued and unwavering alliance with my abusive ex, and in fuelling my teen daughter’s rebellion.
The day you removed Simone from school is unforgettable. How could you? Your actions as the adult one, the one who should know better, sent a shock wave at the school and among other parents, at her drama school, at our church, among her friends and within my extended family and friends. Rumours spread like wildfire of a colored woman from Brixton who brainwashes young vulnerable girls into rebellious behaviors and helps to facilitate their “ticket to freedom”. The rumors were confirmed when I tried to bring my daughter home after finding out what you had done. You were at the other end of my daughter’s lover’s phone line. Coaching and telling them what to say. Who to call and what to do or not do. Mother pimp, superhero woman doing her job!
In your communication with Simone via Instagram, you brazenly advise her how to cast spells, discuss suicide, visiting my home without my consent while I travel for work, encouraging violence/hate against me, discussing intimate details about your husband – stuff that should not be shared between an adult and a minor child. You even expressed hating me without even knowing me. You slowly groomed my daughter into the belief that she would be much happier moving in with her lover. Instead of providing guidance and using her moment of teen vulnerability to remind her how well loved she was by her family, you used that moment to ‘finish the kill’.
In the end, you denied my daughter a good and loving home and access to education – yes, she dropped out of grade 11 when you picked her up from school on the morning of August 16, 2021. You actively supported her in pursuing a relationship when you dropped her off at her lover’s house instead of encouraging her to remain in school - pursue a brighter future by focusing in her studies and career path and growth. You groomed and brainwashed her over time by taking advantage of her vulnerable teenage girl state. Simone was a bright star at school, in drama and theatre, at church as a young leader and other social networks. Her path to a bright future and career was set. Over time, she was brainwashed into believing she was unloved and that she was the product of parental abuse. Mom Cassy, the guardian angel, superwoman ‘ rescued’ the situation and convinced Simone that real love and happiness was waiting for her outside of the comforts of her loving and nurturing home. You subsequently facilitated her dropping out of school, and supported her full exit from the protection of her family and loving siblings. What a brave woman you are Cassy - you plucked up the courage to ruin the future of another woman’s child!
You said that Simone told you she was physically abused at home?. I challenged you to provide evidence but you failed. The reality is that you have racist tendencies Cassy! You dislike black people enough to believe our ways of parenting are abusive. Would you be kind enough to tell me if you have ever tried reaching out to me, Simone’s school, the neighbours or our family friends to verify your assumptions? To understand the real struggles Simone and the family were going through. If you had, the lies you were fed and continue to believe, the family you have managed to divide, and the future ruthlessly destroyed by you, might have been saved.
Instead, you chose to align yourself with the estranged, abusive and absent father. You teamed up and pulled my daughter out of school. You’ve deemed a bright shining star and destroyed her career path - while believing you were helping her out of a ”toxic and abusive household”. In reality, you were satiating both the loss of your child and your poor relations with your own mother. Once again, rescuing Simone out of an “abusive household and wanting the best for her” was not on your mind when you picked her from school and dropped her off at her lover’s house on the morning of August 16, 2021. The difference between rescuing a child from an abusive environment and helping them to make bad decisions that will ultimately destroy their future is not rocket science.
Actually, I am not surprised by your actions because most people do not bother to investigate beyond what they are told. It requires more mental effort than simply hating people and coming up with devious ways of destroying their future and breaking up families. We react only to re-affirm our social prejudice. That is why her absent and abusive father is hailing you as a hero and savior. I am anticipating that Simone and her lover have already turned you into a Super Woman icon.
Taking advantage of, and manipulating a vulnerable teenage girl, who is still finding her path in life and recovering from her parents’ traumatic divorce, is abuse perpetuated by a more experienced adult, like yourself. There is no equal power relations here. You know this. You studied psychology and work with children. You used this knowledge and actively brainwashed Simone into believing she was unloved at home and continually told her living with her lover will bring her fulfillment and happiness (I have your Instagram communication to prove this). Whatever happened between you and your mother, or your schoolteacher has nothing to do with me and my relations with my daughter. The loss of your unborn baby is unfortunate, but do not punish me by taking my child away from me (yes, she maybe 18yr old but she will always be my baby girl). How could you encourage her to call you mom while she refers to me as the bitch - you are only 8 years older than she is! How will you feel if another woman was doing this to your own child that you love very much?
The only thing that makes me sorry for you is that you lost your unborn baby. How is it that you did not recognize the pain of loss to my own because of your actions? Of all the teen girls that are vulnerable and finding themselves, which you have worked with at the drama, school, why did you pick my daughter? Why a single black woman, with a colored child, the object of your wrath? Why didn’t you avenge your own trauma by standing up against the ones specifically responsible for the abuse you may have faced as a child from your own mother or teacher?
If you had known better and really wanted to help Simone, you could have worked harder to find out the facts, by spreading awareness and empowering other vulnerable teen girls that are going through similar life crisis, rescuing them by breaking the social silence over “parental abuse”. You not only missed the opportunity to do that, you gave into the lies, racial bias and gender inequality system by becoming an enabler of abuse towards other women and vulnerable girl children.
You thought that your actions would deliver justice for my daughter or perhaps justice for yourself. However, you forgot that I am a black woman with an undying resilience that has motivated me since childhood. A single mother in Apartheid South Africa raised me. I have been excluded from opportunities, bullied at school, abused by my ex-husband, mocked because of the colour of my skin, taunted and violated. All my life, I have been told by the zealots of our racist society that black people’s cultural ways or life principles need to change, or live in shame for being who we are. As a single mother with a single income, I am made to live in constant scrutiny and accusations by men and women like you of not being good enough. What you have put me through this far, is worse than the divorce I went through. However, you have made me stronger and fearless. So perhaps I need to thank you Cassy Bagoes. Thank you for sacrificing my daughter into a life of an uncertain future. This has unwittingly allowed me to break the silence over how other women actively thwart global efforts towards the achievement of gender equality. My girl is out of school because of you. Did you know that educated girls could save lives and build stronger communities and economies? Are you aware that an educated female population increases a country's productivity and fuels economic growth? That some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls.
Briefly, your active participation in Simone’s rebellion has robbed her of the opportunity to earn a higher in future. Of being an independent woman. Of being an active participant in decisions that most, affect her as a woman. Of building a better future for herself and her children – my future grandchildren and her generation to come. Your actions have condemned my daughter to a life of dependency. You have sabotaged a bright star and a female leader who had the potential to contribute towards an equal gender society.
In my family history and those of close friends, you will forever be known as the woman who contributed towards the destruction of a bright young woman’s future –not just hers, her future children for generations to come. A selfish woman who sided with an absent father and an abuser and worsened the struggles of another woman. The one who, instead of helping to close the current global gender inequality gaps – contributed in widening it. As other gender activists and feminists rise collectively, we will continue to hope, believe and work for building a society where we raise awareness of the likes of men and women like you who takes us back to the dark ages of sabotaging the future of a bright young woman.
Because of your active contribution in her demise, we are in mourning at the loss of the bright shining star that was Simone. As a family, we continue to pray for her recovery from your brainwash. We pray for other children and teenage girls not to fall victim of your self-hatred, racism and anti- girl child progress.
“Be as pissed off as you want to be. Don’t hold back because you think it’s unladylike or some such nonsense. We shouldn’t be shamed out of our anger. We should be using it. Using it to make change in our own lives, and using it to make change in the lives around us….So the next time someone calls you emotional, or asks if you’re PMSing, call them on their bullshit.” —Jessica Valenti, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know
Team Simone aka: Simone’s loving mother, her brothers, her friends which you have cut out from her life, her school mates, teachers, church/youth group, gender and feminist activists, neighbors and community members, & her loving dogs (lion and lioness)