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Motshekga distances herself, department from "sexy" reading campaign following spokesperson's tweets

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Image: Cebisile Mbonani

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has distanced herself and the department from the "sexy" reading initiative following a series of semi-naked pictures of women posted by the department's spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, at the weekend.

In the first picture  posted by Mhlanga, a woman wearing a skimpy grey jumpsuit, revealing her oily breasts and thighs.

@ElijahMhlanga wrote: "Reading for leisure is also therapeutic. It relaxes the Ming, body and soul."

The second picture is of a naked woman sleeping on her stomach and reading a book. Mhlanga wrote: "Let's make reading sexy. Don't just do it as a habit, you can do it everyday. It feels good when you get into it."

In both tweets Mhlanga tagged the department and hash tagged Read to Lead which is their campaign. 

“As Minister of Basic Education, I didn’t authorise nor was informed of such a campaign involving semi-naked women. Even if I was informed, I wouldn’t have given any permission purely based on principle that women aren’t objects. The objectification of women is an affront in our battle against the pervasive nature of patriarchy and the scourge of gender based violence.” Motshekga said.

“I distance both the Ministry I lead and the Department of Basic Education from this naked display of male chauvinism. The objectification women has no place anywhere in our society let alone in our quest to promote reading. have instructed the Accounting Officer of the Department of Basic Education (DG) to institute appropriate action in this regard to ensure that in future, no official engages in folic of their own in the name of the department," Motshekga said.

Even though Mhlanga has since apologised he received a backlash from Twitter users.

@mohautselapedi said: "I am still wondering what my 9 year old girl would think about the campaign. 

@thembamnguni3 said :"But it felt like porn bearing no direct nor significant impact to education.

Mhlanga said he posted a series of tweets about the department's Read to Lead campaign aimed at promoting reading amongst young adults and people of school going age and society in general. 

"I have noted that one image in particular may have offended sensitive viewers. This however was not the intention and we strongly reject any view to that effect. To those I disappointed and indeed those of you who are offended by the use of images. I apologise," Mhlanga said. 

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