Sunday, June 22, 2014

BREAKING. Most bizarre SABC press conference ever as bare-breasted Venda women perform ritual in Hlaudi 'woman as gift' scandal.

The most bizarre press conference at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters took place today when bare-breasted women and some fully clothed men performed a Venda ritual on the floor in front of the tables - to summon passed-on elders - in one of the strangest (and ongoing) scandals involving the South African public broadcaster since the inception of the broadcaster.

Meanwhile journalists were suddenly forced to take off their shoes and to kneel and lower themselves - awkward since no pre press conference protocol rules were circulated beforehand helping the press to know what to expect, prepare for, and what journalist or reporter to send in case of special circumstances.

Flabbergasted journalists and reporters had no real choice but to oblige the group - a specific lobby group called Mudzi Wa Vhurereli ha Vhavenda, comprising Venda traditional healers.

Adding to the surreal circumstances was the lack of English translators for speakers who only spoke in Venda.

The Venda delegation said that they are Venda and will be speaking Venda since English isn't better than their language and that nobody could really speak English well in the group.

The problem was that the press was unprepared and not informed ahead of time, and had to interrupt and ask for any possible translation into English.

However nobody was available nor willing. As the Venda group went ahead speaking in Venda, Dr. Gladys Netshengwe, a chief's wife could speak some English and agreed to translate.

Before the start of the press conference this afternoon in Johannesburg, the Venda delegation surprised with an unannounced ritual summoning elders. The bizarre press conference was also marked/marred by loud ululating by bare-breasted women every time before any Venda member spoke.

Later journalists and reporters who wanted answers had to lower themselves first to show respect in order to elicit a possible response or an answer.

Journalists from The Sowetan newspaper and wire service Sapa were ordered and basically forced to come to the front to collect a document as the "response" from the Venda people - but once the journalists who went forward under duress did it, they were ordered to get on their knees before handed the papers.

Next to them bare-chested Venda women lay on the floor.

The swirling controversy stems from SABC executives who visited Thohoyandou in Limpopo in an official public meet-and-greet to talk about the SABC and the public broadcaster's role just over a week ago.

The SABC's famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng was involved in a parading of women, reportedly including the "gifting" of one, as well as being given a cow and a calf.

The Commission for Gender Equality is investigating complaints.

After more than a week during which the SABC made no official statement, the Venda people suddenly decided to hastily convene a press conference and at the SABC - and weirdly for Sunday.

During the press conference Hlaudi Motsoeneng was often incorrectly referred to and called "Motsoaledi".

The Venda king Khosikhulu Mphephu Ramabulana is furious and is demanding answers from the SABC about the event and from those who organised it in a press statement which was issued this weekend from the royal Venda headquarters.

At the press conference on Sunday afternoon, the Venda delegation said that the cow and calf are a gift to the SABC, not to Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The 23 year old Venda woman, Vanessa Mutswari, is engaged to another man and says she was not given to anybody.

"It disgusts me [to read/see/hear] we are Venda, we are giving a wom- a wife to SABC," said dr. Gladys Netshengwe, a chief's wife at the press conference. No. It's not what we did".