Basetsana Kumalo, producer of ‘Our Perfect Wedding’ speaks out

The producer of shows such as ‘Our Perfect Wedding’ , ‘Diski Divas’ and ‘Date My Family’ has spoken out about the public debate surrounding the show’s decision to broadcast an episode which was slammed for romanticising rape culture.

Kumalo is the CEO of Connect TV which conceptualised and produced a Sunday programme, Our Perfect Wedding, for Mzansi Magic.

The reality show was first broadcast two years ago after M-net commissioned the company to produce local content for its Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu channels.

The show came under fire when it aired an episode in which Fani Mkhwanazi boasted about targeting school girls for sex while he was a taxi driver. Mkwhanazi said he met his bride, 23-year old Bavelile when she was 14 and he 28.

While Mzansi Magic issued an apology and said it would not repeat the offensive episode, Kumalo had kept quiet throughout the uproar, choosing to comment two days later.

Kumalo posted on her social media accounts and assured the viewers that  she viewed the episode in a serious light.

“I am engaging intensively with my team in regards to it,” she said.

Another statement was released, it read: “Mzansi Magic and its production company, Connect TV, wish to apologise for airing the episode of Our Perfect Wedding that was broadcast on 29 November 2015. While we strive to produce quality, compelling content for our viewers, we realise more stringent measures should have been applied in the production and broadcasting of this particular episode as its subject matter is clearly unacceptable.

“While the screening of our programmes does not mean we condone the behaviour included in them, we are reviewing our processes to ensure that this type of content is not part of our programming schedule in the future.”

Kumalo is also at the helm of shows like Top Billing and Pasella which appeal to a more affluent audience on the SABC channels.

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng who registered a complaint with the Broadcasting Commission of SA and penned an open letter denouncing what she termed the promotion and normalisation of rape culture, said she was  disappointed that Kumalo could allow such an episode to be aired.

This was someone she looked up to growing up, and saw as the Julia Roberts of South Africa, she said.

Mofokeng said she hoped Kumalo would speak out against the episode.

She also wanted the show to do a follow-up episode where it came out saying it was wrong and educated people on the issue.

This is not the first time Kumalo’s Connect TV has come under fire. The production company’s show,Diski Divas saw three of its cast mates embroiled in a cat fight at Kaya FM studios.

Kat Mohoadube and Wendy Parker allegedly assaulted a pregnant Nonhle Ndala while the cameras were filming. Although the altercation was not aired, Kumalo fired Parker and Mohoadube and is said to have axed several staff members for negligence and their involvement in the matter.

Response to Kumalo on her Facebook page

Relebohile Makotoane: I still don’t see why we blaming opw for exposing such, we see this everyday in our society but you don’t see anyone running to the cops! We need to take a chill pill and deal with the real problem not the sauce!

Thandi Klaas: Opw only exposed what happens every day in our communities. We see these things happening right infront of our eyes and do nothing to stop or change it but once they are put in our faces we start acting as if its the first time we hear about them

Zasha Mashaba: I understand that to those just watching for entertainment don’t bother to consider ethical considerations bur media practitioners are duty bound to do so. This to me indicates that the program producers were negligent. Nothing exists in a vacuum and this episode was ill conceived

Dorinda Mabuza: If the show was a documentary as news information, I’ll understand why people say it was exposing the realities of our societies, but this show is an entertainment doccie. So, it is not the best of platform to shine the light on such sensitive issues. Yes, it got us talking, but when watching OPW we are expecting entertainment.

On the subject statutory rape. I also understand, but not excusing the ignorance on the matter. We are still new to the functions of the Constitution and Law.

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