SABC 1: Uzalo_26/11/2018

Date: November 26, 2018
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Name of monitor: Sakhile Dube
Name of Television station: SABC1
Name of programme: Uzalo
Date of broadcast: 26/11/2018
Time: 20:30 – 21:00
Clip Timing: 0:56 – 2:10 skip to 3:35 – 4:35
Genre: Drama Series
Theme: Family relations,
GBV focus explicit or implicit? Implicit
Gem Classification: Subtle Stereotypes
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Brief description of scene:

This scene involves a polygamist (Nkunzi) who put pressure on his wives (Lindiwe and Hlengiwe) to get pregnant because he wants an heir. Lindiwe, the first wife is forced to lie about the pregnancy and Nkunzi is happy that he will finally have an heir. Seeing how excited Nkuzi is about the pregnancy, Lindiwe feels guilty for faking the pregnancy and she visits a church to confess.

This scene highlights the issues of unhealthy relationships that lead to emotional abuse which is a form of GBV. GBV is a deep and widespread problem in South Africa with an impact on every aspect of life. Women, girls, and children are mostly affected. Gendered power inequalities are entrenched in our society and despite the arsenal of progressive policies and laws in place, women are still disproportionately affected.

This scene is classified as perpetuating subtle stereotypes because it reinforces the reproductive roles of women – that women are supposed to get pregnant, even if they are not ready, just to please their husbands. The female characters in this story line are valued according to their fertility and are put under immense pressure to provide an heir.

Gender based violence is implicit in the storyline as Nkuzi is controlling to the point where his wife feels as though she has to lie to maintain their relationship. Lindiwe feels as though she has to lie to her husband and turns to prayer to alleviate her guilt. Emotional abuse is often normalized and mostly left unreported as women find their own ways of recovery instead of seeking professional help. In seeking ways of recovery, religious institutions become the first place where most women go for help.

Women should be able to make their own reproductive decisions without facing any pressure from their partners. This scene takes an unfair judgement whereby a woman is portrayed as someone who is desperate to get pregnant whilst the man is the one who desperately needs a child but is impatient to wait for the right time which leads a woman to fake the pregnancy just to please her husband. The scene does not challenge the stereotypes that women are only seen as child bearers and the scene also does not support the reproductive rights of women.

Traditional gender roles put pressure on women when it comes to reproduction where a woman’s role is only to give birth and take care of children.

This scene fails to challenge Nkuzi’s emotional abuse and normalises it. It also perpetuates the idea that a woman’s only role in a marriage is to produce an heir, even if it is damaging to her own mental health and against her will to fall pregnant.


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