• Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni has caused a stir by speaking English during an interview on a Xitsonga radio show.
  • He tried offering an apology, but it has not gone down well with listeners.
  • He has since threatened to quit Twitter after what he calls abuse on the platform.

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.

See also: The fabulous food diary of Tito Mboweni

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)

He even went on promise to do better next time.

(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.

(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.

But some Twitter users saw that as him playing victim.

Fellow high profile native Xitsonga speakers, Mbhazima Shilowa and Professor Tinyiko Maluleke also got involved.

(He must be crucified!)

(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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