M-Net, the pay TV channel has apologised for using the word “moffie” (a sometimes disparaging Afrikaans term for gay) in its popular long-running soap, Egoli.

In a recent episode of the serial, the character of Joe (Darren Kelfkens), in a conversation about his wife, is heard to say, “Do you think I’m going to sit on my hands like a moffie while she sleeps in another man’s bed?”

The furore came about after the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GLA) lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) against M-Net for using the remark in the show. The GLA demanded that M-Net apologise and threatened to instigate a boycott of the channel by its members and the gay community.

The Freedom of Expression Institute responded by saying that it believed that the GLA was over-reacting as the word was used in a dramatic scenario within a particular context. M-Net made the same argument in defending itself: “Joe as a character in Egoli is an expressive person and it goes with his character to use those kinds of words.” The Channel has nevertheless apologised to the GLA.

Deputy Chairman of the BCC Ratha Mokgoathleng said the organisation will investigate the complaint. “We will look at the broadcaster’s reasons for using the word, in what context it was used, and for what purpose it was intended.”

Earlier this year, 16 South African lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organisations, allies and partners denounced the controversial and discriminatory Gay and Lesbian Alliance and its tactics. It is widely discredited within the LGBTI community. Recently the GLA applauded the throwing of objects at participants at the Joburg Pride Parade.

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