Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

23 June 2014

South Africa: Hlaudi's 'Wife' - Lost in Translation

analysis

Venda cultural leaders were adamant on Sunday that they never offered the SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng the gift of a wife. While the newspaper that reported the story is sticking to its version, the truth is uncertain. But everyone agrees it's wrong to offer a woman as a gift.

"Who can translate?" asked leaders from the cultural lobby group Mudzi wa Vhurereli ha Vhavenda. They thought we would have brought interpreters. The journalists looked blankly at each other. We didn't.

Before the media briefing began, journalists were required to take off their shoes and crouch for a quick ceremony. The Mudzi members wore traditional Venda outfits and each panel member introduced themselves, with the young women prostrating on the floor. Then each journalist was required to state his or her name and employer.

In an unusual press conference, the Mudzi group flatly denied reports it offered acting SABC chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng a wife as a gift last week for visiting Thohoyandou, Limpopo, to discuss Phalaphala FM's relocation to Polokwane.

According to a Sowetan story, which was widely reported on by other media outlets, the Venda lobby group welcomed Motsoeneng to Thohoyandou with the gift of...

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