Unathi Nkayi cleared for 'Xhosa' comment

29 January 2020 - 12:08 By Emmanuel Tjiya
Unathi Nkayi's comment about Xhosa people carrying the nation was not well received.
Unathi Nkayi's comment about Xhosa people carrying the nation was not well received.
Image: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape

Idols SA judge Unathi Nkayi is off the hook over "tribalistic" comment she made on the show.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), however, slammed Unathi's banter that aired in the finale of the Mzansi Magic show on November 10 as "a joke in bad taste" and coincided with the complainant that she advocated tribalism.

The commission could not prove that Nkayi advocated hatred and incited harm.

Therefore, she did not breach the BCCSA's Code of Conduct in which it needed to be proven that there "was advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender, or religion and which constitutes an incitement to cause harm".

"Whilst Unathi's utterance may have angered many people, the BCCSA has to show if the utterances of Unathi did seriously have all the three elements specified by clause," the BCCSA said in the judgment.

"The utterances by Unathi did not in any way constitute advocacy for hatred. Were these utterances based on race, ethnicity, gender, or religion? Yes, it was based on tribalism, which is part of ethnicity and/or race.

"The statements did not, in any way, constitute an incitement to cause harm, even though the complainant asserts that Unathi's utterances were akin to "emotional violence," the judgment read.

In the complaint that Sowetan has seen, the aggrieved viewer accused Nkayi of tribalist comments that placed Xhosa speakers as superior to South Africans speaking different languages.

"Through tribalism, South Africa lost many lives and, some parts of the country were turned to blood-bath. The truth is tribalism is as wicked as racism and should not be condoned," the complainant wrote.

"Tribalism should receive the same attention as racism. It is wicked, has the potential to incite violence, and perpetuates the stereotype against one another. No tribe is superior to another. Unathi's statement about the Xhosa tribe is very unfortunate and displays her true character.

"I am extremely offended about this irresponsible conduct of a public figure who abused a platform to spew venom on the nation. After the public's outcry, she 'apologised'. That apology is fake and should not be considered," the complainant said.

On the episode, while judging now winner Luyolo Yiba over his stellar performance, Nkayi caused a public outcry when she said: "On behalf of the Xhosa people, we are tired of holding up the nation. From Tatu Kani from the Black Panther to Siya Kolisi winning the World Cup, Unathi the published author, and Miss South Africa. I am happy we have somebody from the Eastern Cape in the final."

Mzansi Magic had not responded to our enquiry at the time of publication.

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