Twitter user sorry for inventing fake rape story

2016-01-13 13:20
Twitter. (AFP)

Twitter. (AFP)

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Cape Town - The Twitter user responsible for fabricating a story about a girl named “Kamogelo” who had supposedly been raped and killed has apologised for misleading the public.

The story about the "gruesome death" of a woman called Kamogelo Peterson (Kamo), which was based on a series of tweets and led to a mass outpouring of messages on social media as well as a news report, was exposed as fake on Monday, News24 reported.

It originally appeared in The Star newspaper, after her series of 70 tweets were retweeted a combined 40 000 times.

The story’s veracity was eventually questioned on social media, and it was then that the paper backtracked and called the police to confirm.

The Star's editor Kevin Ritchie told News24 on Monday that the fake story highlighted important issues about "Journalism 101".

"It slipped through on deadline last night [Sunday], and we did not do the most basic check of all, which was calling the police [to confirm the information]," he said.

"We are red-faced and not happy with this at all. We are doing whatever we can to learn from this because this is not the journalism we pride ourselves on practicing... it is a huge lesson for us and the [media] industry."


The Twitter user, 18-year-old Khuthi Makananise, spoke to the newspaper and apologised for making up the story, among other things.

“It was just a story I read on the internet and it made me feel like I didn’t want to live in South Africa anymore, so I made up my own story to show people how bad it is to live in South Africa,” she told The Star.

“It’s just that this time so many people responded, I just left it. I apologise for misleading everyone.”

A large number of Twitter users lashed out, while others used the incident as a talking point about rape and violence against women.

The Department of Women said on Twitter: "Violence against women and children is real. Khuthi story may be fake but in reality there are many #Kamo's out there",  and "If the actual account of Kamo is a work of creative writing, it is inspired and reflects a sad reality of women in our country #itsnotjustastory".

Makananise has also published an online book called Secretly in Love with My Principal, which has been read 10 000 times on Kindle, Eyewitness News reported.

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