Two sponsors, SMG (BMW) Umhlanga and Oceans Mall, have walked away from the Sebenza Women Awards.
The blowback comes after the awards’ co-founder and Umkhokha actor Kininonke “Kini” Shandu made disparaging comments about women who have children out of wedlock.
Shandu made the comments on his Facebook account recently.
Mongezi Tembe, corporate sales manager at BMW Umhlanga, said the company will no longer be associated with Shandu.
Five-year relationship ends
“We’ve been sponsoring these awards for the past five years and they’ve been successful. This is Kini’s brainchild, he had a good proposal and we liked it,” Tembe said.
“The motor industry is male-dominated, so driving these influential women to and from the event was an honour for us.
“However, under these circumstances, we cannot be associated with someone or a brand that dehumanises women or anyone.
“We subscribe to the constitution of South Africa and we have a duty to uplift and protect women and children. We’ll still support any proposal that empowers women but not with Mr Shandu.”
Fara Hamid, marketing manager at Oceans Mall, said: “Radisson Blu is no way affiliated with Sebenza Women Awards.
“The CEO of Oceans Mall, Brian Mpono, contributed as a guest speaker and as part of a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
Contract legally binding
Spokesperson for eThekwini municipality Gugu Sisilana said the municipality does not discuss matters pertaining to any sponsorship to any organisation with a third party.
“There are contractually and legally binding issues pertaining to the sponsorship agreement,” said Sisilana.
“If there are concerns, these are addressed directly with the recipient concerned and not via the media or a third party.”
The sanctions come after the Sebenza Women Awards’ disciplinary committee announced on Monday that Shandu would be suspended for seven days.
He is also restricted from engaging with fans on his social media platforms, and was ordered to delete all posts that are in bad taste against women, children, and men.
The Umkhokha actor has already taken to social media to apologise, stating that his comments were merely a joke.
However, he admitted that the remarks were in bad taste.
“Critically, it is important to clarify that the statement in question does not align with my genuine beliefs, the utmost respect that I have for women, and my commitment towards the promotion of their rights and empowerment,” Shandu said.