For two episodes in a row, Mzansi Magic’s ‘Our Perfect Wedding’ has aired the love stories of two couples who met when the bride was a teenager – the show has now been slammed for ‘romanticising rape culture.’
In the latest episode which aired on Sunday, viewers were introduced to Fanie and Bavelile Mkwhanazi.
Fanie, a pastor met his bride when she was a 14-year-old school going teenager. At the time, he was a 28-year old taxi driver who preyed on young girls, targeting and sleeping with them.
A proud Fanie can be seen detailing his sexual exploits with school girls and how he met Bavelile, who had to continuously fight for his affection. Despite Bavelile’s mother initially not approving of the relationship, she eventually gave her blessing for the two to tie the knot.
After the episode aired, the reaction on social media was outrage. Questions were raised as to why the production team behind Our Perfect Wedding allowed the episode to air, especially during the ’16 days of activism against women and child abuse’ annual campaign.
The Change Drivers’ Network and the Sexual Reproductive Justice Coalition of South Africa issued a statement slamming Mzansi Magic and Connect TV which is owned by business woman Basetsana Khumalo. Khumalo is also the producer of shows such as Date My Family and Top Billing on SABC 3.
“Considering the rate of sexual abuse in South Africa (reported and non-reported cases such as this one), It is disturbing to note how OPW, airing on Channel 161 normalised this behaviour and turned it into a love story. It is unacceptable and as young leaders who deal with such issues every day, the ACTIVATE! Network demands that action be taken in this regard,” read the statement.
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng wrote an open letter and registered a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.
“Rape culture is so normalised and in a country like ours with the type of statistics around rape and gender based violence it is highly disturbing what we were shown on Mzansi Magic last night.
“Perverts and self confessed paedophiles get rewarded with a tv show on the channel and nobody in the production saw nothing wrong with the narrative… we are meant to be standing up for women and children who are abused. How is this episode in anyway assisting with this? How is this empowering to black women and children to stand up for what is right? When we air shows that use content of rape and rape culture as entertainment we spit on the face of the law and people who are abused,” said Mofokeng.
On Our Perfect Wedding‘s Facebook page, the updates used to promote the show revealed that the production team saw nothing wrong with the story.
One update read: “Bavelile has graduated from Fanie’s Sarafina to his fully fledged wife! Congratulations to the lovely couple.”
While another update seemingly glorified Fanie’s cheating, implying his wife had won a prize. It read: “She has outwitted, outplayed and outlasted all the women vying for Fanie’s affections, and now she’s Mrs Mkhwanazi, the real Mc Coy!”