Pic: SAMAs / Instagram
Somizi Mhlongo has had to apologise to singer Zahara after she threatened to sue him over comments he made about her at the SA Music Awards.
Mhlongo co-hosted Saturday’s event at the Sun City Superbowl with Tumi Morake. While both were widely praised for their presenting skills and entertaining the audience, not everyone was impressed.
Zahara, especially, was offended when Mhlongo quipped: “We are almost at the end of the show. There is an amazing after-party, where is Zahara? … useke bar [Is she already at the bar]?”
The outraged star, who was not at the awards, is now planning to take legal action.
“I only wish what I heard upon my return from Swaziland #BushfireFestival this past weekend about what Somizi said at the SAMAS is not true!” Zahara wrote on Facebook. “Because if he did I am suing Somizi and the SAMAs for deformation [sic] of character”. She added: “I am tired of this.”
Mhlongo told Sowetan Live that he wasn’t being serious. “I only mentioned the bar and her name, not alcohol. But if that offended her I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt or harm her. It was just a joke.
“Askies Zahara, I was just having fun. I joked about a lot of people, including Khanyi Mbau that she was white. I made a joke about Babes Wodumo and she was laughing.”
Zahara, who says that the comment also offended her mom and her family, has demanded a substantial apology. She revealed that Mhlongo has refused to take her calls.
“I need that apology or I am proceeding with the lawsuit. As much as he said that on a public forum, I expect Somizi to publicly apologise to me as well. I also expect an apology from the SAMAs, as they should have known that he was out of line.”
Mhlongo, an Idols South Africa judge, is one of the most high-profile LGBT celebrities in South Africa. In January, his angry social media post about an anti-gay sermon at The Grace Bible Church, led to a national debate on homophobia in the church.