Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni is embroiled in a Twitter storm after appearing on the SABC radio station Munghana Lonene's Minkondzo ya Tingwazi show, and may quit the social network as a result.
The radio station caters for people who speak Xitsonga. Mboweni is also a native Xitsonga speaker.
However, he opted to speak English for the duration of his interview – and that did not sit well with listeners, who took to Twitter to let their displeasure be known.
Listen to the interview here:
(People are angry that Mr Mboweni spoke English on MLFM yesterday).
Mboweni tried explaining that there had been an agreement that he could speak English on the show.
(Calm down Munghana [Lonene FM] listeners. There was an understanding that English could also be used. Let us forgive each other, ok)
Ndzi swi hlayile hi nkwaswo leswi mi nga swi tsala. Ndza swi tswisisa. Loko swi endleka nakambe, hi ta swi lungisa. Ndza khensa. Mathlari e hansi.— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 16, 2018
(I've read everything you've written. I understand. If it happens again, we will fix it. Thank you. Everybody calm down)
But listeners were having none of it.
Leswi minga swiendla tolo swikomba ku nyadza language ya n'wina kuti sola ka n'wina Malume wa mina na switwisisa kambe ririmi ra hina amina mhaka na rona, noti byela leswaku amimi Tsonga. Vanhu votala ngoopfu avari na ntsako the whole week vaku vatati phina hi information ya nwin— Rodney Mabasa Wale Jimmy Jones. (@MabasaRodney) September 17, 2018
(What you did yesterday shows how much you undermine your language. I understand your apology uncle, but you don't care about our language and tell yourself that you are not Tsonga. A lot of people were excited the whole week thinking they would enjoy your information.)
Prompting Mboweni to threaten quitting the social media platform entirely.
When I joined Twitter, it was for sharing, inform, educate, community, entertainment and friendships. Now it has become different. It’s abusive and unfriendly. Too many angry people there. Maybe time to say goodbye.— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) September 16, 2018
Don't you dare try and block people for feeling betrayed by YOU, after you went to a Xitsonga speaking radio station, which is your mother tongue, and chose to speak English. YOU made a grave mistake, and it can only be undone by going back to the same platform and apologies.— Owen Mafukele-VALOYI™ (@owenmafukele) September 17, 2018
Fellow high profile native Xitsonga speakers, Mbhazima Shilowa and Professor Tinyiko Maluleke also got involved.
A vambiwe!— Mbhazima Shilowa (@Enghumbhini) September 17, 2018
(He must be crucified!)
Mi nga beli ku dlaya!— ProfTinyiko Maluleke (@ProfTinyiko) September 17, 2018
(Jokingly urging that Mboweni not be beaten to death).
Mboweni was born in Tzaneen in Limpopo where the two main African languages spoken there are Sepedi (Bolobedu dialect) and Xitsonga.
Mboweni has more than 260,000 followers on Twitter, and has been a regular on the network for six years.
Business Insider South Africa reached out to Mboweni this week, but could not secure comment from him. Following publication of the article, he called the reporter and said he would forward us his version of events. We will update the article as soon as we hear from him.
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