7de Laan on hate over interracial kiss: Love knows no age, gender or race
Afrikaans soapie 7de laan has defended its decision to include an interracial kiss in the current storyline, explaining that creators wanted to show an authentic South African experience and that love is colourblind.
The kiss, between actress Carina Nel and Nicholas Nkuna sparked racist comments from some fans on the show who thought it was "pathetic" and inappropriate. Others defended the romance, which resulted in a fierce debate.
The show's head writer Hanli Rolfes told TshisaLIVE she would not bow to pressure from critics or those threatening to boycott the show after the kiss.
"We live in a real South Africa where loads of people have interracial relationships. 7de Laan is focussed on putting the real South Africa on TV. It is our responsibility to show that art imitates life."
She said that it was her role as a writer to educate those who were uncomfortable with interracial relationships
"For those people who are still uncomfortable with (or have never been confronted with) interracial relationships 7de Laan makes it accessible and shows the normality of the fact that love knows no age, gender or race. And ultimately, when true love happens and prevails our hearts sing and no-one can help but smile with joy – it is beautiful!"
The show's creators also issued a statement on social media calling for calm and the end of hate speech.
P/1 In light of our recent story line in which Fikani and Alexa share a kiss:— 7de Laan (@Real7deLaan) January 22, 2019
As much as we respect our viewers’ right to voice their opinion, 7de Laan will not tolerate hate speech, racism or instigation of such narratives by any member of the public or media.
P/2 We stand by our diverse story lines that tell stories of a real South Africa in which we all strive to live harmoniously.— 7de Laan (@Real7deLaan) January 22, 2019
Inter-racial relationships are prevalent and 7de Laan is focused on putting the real South Africa on Television.
P/3 It is our responsibility to show that art emulates life and in so doing 7de Laan shows the normality of the fact that love knows no age, gender or race.— 7de Laan (@Real7deLaan) January 22, 2019
P/4 We love and appreciate all our viewers, fans and followers. Thank you for your unyielding support over the past 18- soon to be 19 years.— 7de Laan (@Real7deLaan) January 22, 2019
Joining the debate around the kiss on social media, veteran actor John Kani recounted how he too had an audience shun him for kissing a white woman on stage 34 years ago.
John had kissed actress Sandra Prinsloo during a performance of Othello that saw audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town walk out the theatre in protest.
Oh yes indeed I remember that production and the experience for Joana and myself especially. She actually left South Africa. She now lives and work in Sidney Australia.— JohnKani (@JohnKani2) January 21, 2019
The incident was so massive Dis ek, Anna film producer Niel van Deventer has been working on bringing it to life.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE, Niel recounted how learning of the experience had affected him and he wanted to document the emotions and reaction to incident.
"I think there are a lot of lessons in that particular experience that haven't changed in 34 years. They are still lessons needed to be learnt. It is just so fascinating that a man (John Kani) can be shunned and abused for simply doing his job, which is acting."
Filming is expected to start later this year and Niel is keen to have his actress wife Charlenè Brouwer play the role of Sandra Prinsloo.
"I think she would be perfect for the role. When I envisioned this project I couldn't see it happening without her in it."