ABSA Pulls Out Sponsorship, Mzansi Magic Apologises For Our Perfect Wedding Episode | Should we care?

Mzansi Magic has released an apology statement following yesterday’s #OPW episode that caused outraged on Twitterverse. The show was lambasted by its viewers via Twitter that it promoted statutory rape. 

On the episode aired on 29th November, Our Perfect Wedding viewers were introduced to Fanie and Bavelile Mkwhanazi. The episode fed its viewers the usual "look how ridiculous these blacks are " tv magic until Fanie revealed that he met Bavelile when she was 14 years school (teenager). He was  28-years at the time. 

A proud Fanie can be seen regaling the viewers with his sexual exploits with school girls. The groom also shared information about how he met Bavelile. It is also revealed that Bavelile’s mother was disapproving of the relationship, but she eventually gave her blessing for the two to tie the knot.

Following the episode, Twitter cried fowl, some celebrated yet another entertaining episode of #OPW and Mzansi Magic penned an apology, it read thus:

Mzansi Magic notes and acknowledges the concerns from our viewers regarding the OPW episode aired on 29November. The premise of the show is to celebrate the love and the journey that the couples take leading up to their wedding day. 

Our reality shows reflect our society as it is. In the case of this episode, the couple’s past brought up uncomfortable social issues which the family and community, who were initially against the relationship, found a way to resolve. 

At Mzansi Magic, we are committed to telling stories that impact our viewers and build our communities whilst challenging society to engage in meaningful conversations but we do not condone any unlawful behaviour. 

Mzansi Magic would like to apologise for airing the segment that has upset our viewers. We take the concerns of our viewers seriously, it is for this reason we have taken the decision not to broadcast the episode again.

Absa also weighed in and said via Twitter today that they have withdrawn their sponsorship of the shop. All hunky-dorry, right? WRONG. 

The process of making television shows is such that when you see something on TV, it is because the people who created it wanted you to see it. An episode doesnt just get shot and edited by one person then get broadcast without the approval of few people. 

More telling was the fact that prior to the episode airing and even during the flighting of the offensive episode, ABSA and Mzansi Magic twitter pages were full of praise.

Had the "outrage" not gotten traction well beyond the episode, both parties would unlikely have found anything remise with it. And therein lies the problem. 

I am tempted to lambast Mzansi Magic, ConnectTV and by extension Basetsana Khumalo over this but my professionalism holds me back, because I know better. Television is about viewership ratings. Anything to get people watching. 

Where you can't get eyeballs, you push to trend on Twitter. That is the mandate for content now. Of course, the producers knew the statutory rape thing was wrong but that is exactly what making good tv is all about these days. 

Absa's public declaration of sponsorship withdrawal from the show, is another farce that bears questionable ingenuousness. They were happy with the episode until they started getting tagged on negative tweets. They don't care about the message the episode sent, they care about their brand being associated with negativity. That's business. To expect more would be a futile cause. 

My point is simple; We should stop looking at television to protect the image of the black person. The business of television has never been about solving social ills. Television is about selling airtime — making money.  

Our Perfect Wedding has never been about showing the people on it in a good light, yet every season hundreds of couples sign up for the show. Before lambasting the show, think of your own hypocrisy if you have ever pressed 161 on your remote when the show is on.

We are all complicit in this travesty of denigrating our people — and now we are inadvertently supporting child rapists.  

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