SABC 1: Skeemsaam S5_25/01/2019

Date: January 25, 2019
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Name of monitor: Your name Madikana Matjila
Name of Television station:  SABC 1
Name of programme:  Skeem Saam
Date of broadcast: 25 January 2019
Time: Time of broadcast 18:30 – 19H00
Genre: Type of programme
Drama series: Skeem Saam
Theme: Entertainment
Gem Classification: Gender aware

Brief description of scene:
Lehasa and Lelo have just be visited by Katlego’s dad who is not happy about Lelo’s involvement with Katlego. Lelo sent Katlego a stolen contract to give him an indication that Lehasa and Candice are planning something behind Katlego’s back.

Lehasa who has a reputation for being a crooked businessman is trying to engage Candice to buy shares from her business. He is using sexual and emotional advances to crack the deal. Lelo who is Lehasa’s employee and girlfriend notices this and make a counter move with Candice’s partner Katlego This episode focuses on Lehasa’s frustration in Lelo’s tampering with his business dealings.

Why it has been given this GEM classification: Gender Blind

This scene shows Lehasa getting agitated as he talks with his partner Lelo. His aggression is seen in both his physical appearance and how he slaps the table threatening Lelo. Lehasa refuses to hear Lelo’s side of the story, Lelo does not have a voice or a say in the relationship. Lelo is portrayed as passive and accepting of Lehasa’s aggression, normalising his toxic behaviour and does not challenge him. Skeem Saam missed an opportunity to tackle abusive relationships in their storyline.*

*Note that this is a continuing storyline and Skeem Saam might still address Lehasa’s abusive behaviour as problematic. It is difficult to analyse scenes from soap operas out of context due to the continuation of the narrative. It would be important to analyze the outcome of this sub-plot to determine if Lehasa is confronted with his misdeeds and the way he treats women and his abusive behavior is named for what it is. If the abuse goes unrecognised and unchallenged the show implicitly recognises that Lehasa’s treatment of his partner is acceptable.


This article highlighted the following:

● Normalises men as abusive and aggressive when dealing with their partners
● Portrays women as submissive and accepting of abuse

Lelo and Lehasa are in a relationship. They are portrayed as a couple that is always having trust issues. This scene shows Lehasa’s dominance and power over Lelo in their relationship. He is in control and this is seen in how he threatens Lelo. Lehasa’s actions througout this relationship demonstrate that often men have power over their partners and that the decisions men make in relationships are to be obeyed by women.

Although Lelo is usually a defiant character, this scene shows that she is scared of her partner. Women in soap operas are often portrayed as insecure over their partners and their emotions overpower their decision making. This framing perpetuates stereotypes that women are emotional and irrational. The scene also representation a cultural aspect that in relationships men dominate their partners.

Focus: The scene focuses on the gendered dynamics between Lelo and Lehasa. Lehasa’s perceived power and control on Lelo is seen in previous and subsequent scenes when he shouts and threatens Lelo. This is typical of many storylines about antagonistic characters in Soap Operas. The scene normalises the idea that men can threaten their partners without consequence.

People in the programming. This scene is a continuation of a previous episode that ended with Lelo being confronted by Katlego’s dad. His confrontation reveals that Lelo has been tampering with Lehasa’s computer and for that he is adamant that Lelo needs to be punished by himself. It is interesting to note that although both Lelo and Lehasa are exhibiting problematic behaviour, it is only mentioned that Lelo should be punished and not Lehasa. Lelo does not retaliate to Lehasa with aggression. She accepts Lehasa’s aggression as normal. This also brings focus to abusive relationships and the stigma around women’s actions. There is a common assumption that if a women is in an abusive relationship she should just leave. However, power dynamics within the relationship and emotional, physical and financial control exerted through abuse often make leaving nearly impossible. Skeem Saam missed an opportunity to highlight the complicated nature of abusive relationships.

Visuals. Lehasa is agitated. He looks furious and does not react well to Lelo’s response. The visuals show him slapping the table, and zoom in on his face to show his aggression. This is representation highlights power and control in male characters, as society always portrays that what the man says, goes.

Conclusion: This scene could have showed Lelo retaliating with anger in response to Lehasa’s treatment of her and calling him out on his abusive behaviour. Skeem Saam has constructed an interesting storyline which deals with a man and woman in a heterosexual, abusive relationship. This scene is classified as gender blind because Skeem Saam is missing an opportunity to deal with the complexities of these types of relationships and challenge Lehasa’s treatment of Lelo by failing to accurately call him out on his abusive behaviour.

Social Media Responses (important comments in response to the representation of characters, taken from the official facebook page of the show)



1. Weee Kat i think he has already sent the contract to Lihasa before hearing the truth to the story oh poor Lelo who’s trying to help even she was driven by her insecurities 😲 ay Thabo and his mother are so dramatic yhuu i can’t tolerate that if i were Mokgadi Noah needs to heal also, it’s too much now his anger of fear become an nuisance.

1. Can Lelo show Lehasa some flames he gets away with too much already.


1. it’s long overdue now….
When will Lelo deal with this selfish Lehasa kante?


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