Loyal viewer of popular soapie punts for Tsonga actor

Prince Chauke

Prince Chauke

Popular SABC1 soapie Generations is embroiled in a row with a loyal viewer over the use of the "Mashaba" name for a controversial character.

The character, Kenneth Mashaba, a shrewd businessman who is greedy and lives the good life in the soapie, is played by Seputla Sebogodi.

It emerged yesterday that Themba Nkuna, a library assistant at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has lodged a formal complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa over the use of the surname.

He says Mashaba is a Tsonga name and the character is portrayed by a moPedi person who "can hardly" speak Xitsonga.

Nkuna is also arguing for Xitsonga, like other languages, to feature in the soapie.

"I love watching Generations, but I find it unacceptable for the Mashaba name to be used in the soapie," he said.

"Mashaba is uniquely Tsonga.

"I would like the commission to instruct the producer Mfundi Vundla to withdraw Kenneth Mashaba.

"The man is a pure moPedi who speaks Sepedi and English sometimes and he is not Tsonga," said Nkuna.

Nkuna warned that if his complaint was taken lightly, he would have no choice but to approach the courts for recourse as he believes that his tribe's identity, values and language had been compromised.

Nkuna is Tsonga.

SABC's manager on policy and regulatory affairs Fakir Hassen confirmed receipt of the complaint.

"The SABC has an editorial policy on programming as well as on language, compiled after extensive public consultation.

"The latter clearly makes provision for equitable treatment of all the country's official languages, to which we are firmly committed.

"We regularly consult with relevant language bodies, including the Pan South African Language Board, on issues of language, and also with relevant cultural bodies when necessary," said Hassen.

Vundla could not be reached for comment yesterday.