Cape Town – Rachel Kolisi made headlines on Monday, after sharing a video online in which she alleged that 23-year-old fitness model Marike Botha sent an explicit photo to her husband, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi on Instagram.
Taking to her Instagram account, which has since been deleted, Rachel shared Marike’s personal information including her social media handles and the name and location of the gym she frequents.
Channel24 reached out to Marike’s manager Mr. Benade, who spoke on the Cape Town athlete’s behalf, following the immense public backlash that followed Rachel’s public accusations.
Mr. Benade, who declined to comment on the particulars of the communication between Siya and Marike, says that his main concern is that his client’s personal information has been made public online without her consent. “She has been violated,” he added.
He says: “Our main concern at this stage is her well-being, which includes her privacy and safety. We have put in place safety precautions. We want to handle the situation professionally and correctly.”
According to Mr. Benade, Marike received a slew of “threatening messages” within minutes of Rachel’s public post, but soon thereafter was overwhelmed by “messages of support.”
He added that Marike has been experiencing “angs aanvalle” (panic attacks), and says that after the dust has settled, she will be seeking professional medical support to better deal with the aftermath of the event.
“After the post went viral she couldn’t even speak. She is unable to go to places she usually goes to like the gym and the campus where she studies. But more so the biggest trauma has been being shamed nationally without having her story being told, or any concrete evidence.”
Aside from security being put in place, Marike is also being surrounded by her close friends, but “moving on, and putting up a brave face as many say is easier said than done.”
He adds that Marike has been fearful to come forward, and address the media in fears of the story being manipulated and the press exploiting her.
Mr. Benade and his team, who have explored their legal options, say that they don’t wish to pursue legal action nor do they expect money, their only request is a formal apology from Rachel made on the same platform the allegations where made.
“If Rachel does not want to offer an apology, the legal route is still an option for us,” he says.
Marike, who only recently signed with profile managers Fit Nerds and their partners, hopes that the media scrutiny won’t damage her professional reputation and hurt her chances of securing future sponsors.
“We all, just like Rachel and Siya, work really hard but to have your dreams crushes in only one day is hard. Everything that you post on social media stays on the internet forever. If you Google her name now, you’ll potentially find ‘fitness model shows her bum’. We are focused on clearing her name, and building her brand.”
In the interim Marike is “staying strong” and Mr. Benade adds: “She is a very independent young girl, and it was a hard hit, especially from someone that she looks up to. It could have been so different.”
Mr. Benade says that Fit Nerds, Infinity Fitness, Body Culture Nutrition, and their partners stand fully behind their client.