The South African reality TV show Isencane Lengane has sparked public outrage after airing an episode that depicted a domestic violence incident. The episode showed married couple Thando and Siyacela engaging in an argument that escalated into Siyacela becoming violent towards Thando in a fit of jealousy. Viewers were shocked and upset by the incident, and many criticized the channel, Moja LOVE, for airing it on national television.
The channel, however, defended their decision to air the episode in a statement, claiming that the show “reflects the reality in our society” and that it cannot “sweep the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) incident… under the carpet.” They also stated that the production crew intervened as the incident happened but were not allowed to film it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Moja LOVE does not condone or swoon Gender-Based Violence
The most recent episode of isencane Lengane, on Moja LOVE (DStv Channel 157), saw couple Siyacela Dlamuka and Thando Msomi engage in a heated argument, leading to Siyacela becoming violent towards her. Following the broadcast of this episode, there has been uproar with some labelling this as irresponsible broadcasting.
Moja LOVE would like to put it on record that, the channel does not condone GBV in any way. Moja LOVE prides itself on producing content that reflects the reality in our society, including social ills, and as such could not sweep the GBV incident between Thando and Siyacela under the carpet.ln a country burdened by Gender-Based violence and Femicide, Moja LOVE has a responsibility to reflect and show the extent of this pandemic.
Moja LOVE intervened as the incident was happening. It is important to point out that the Moja LOVE crew arrived during the altercation between Siyacela and Thando and police were called in. The crew was not allowed to film this. Thando was given an option to open a case against Siyacela but she chose not to exercise that option and instead, the channel moved Thando away to a different location from Siyacela. Counselling was offered to Thando immediately to deal with her trauma and the channel is monitoring her progress.
Head of Channel at Moja LOVE, Bokani Moyo says, “As a channel, we take violence of any sort, seriously and we do not condone nor support gender-based violence in any way. It was important to air this episode of Isencane Lengane as it is our social responsibility to educate our audiences and mirror what happening in our communities. Cancelling the show is not the solution but let’s rather open a platform to discuss issues that are eating away the moral fibre of our society.”
Critics have called the statement tone-deaf and have demanded that the show be cancelled altogether. Given the high rates of violence against women in South Africa, many believe that airing such incidents on national television is irresponsible and can normalize such behavior.
The episode has also brought attention to the issue of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa, which is a significant problem in the country. The government has been criticized for not doing enough to address the issue and many are calling for more action to be taken to protect women and girls from violence.
It is important for media outlets to be mindful of the impact that their content has on their audience and the society. Such incidents should not be portrayed as normal and should be handled with sensitivity and responsibility. The airing of such episodes should be done with proper guidance and sensitivity.