'We still have a long way to go': 7de Laan actress pours her heart out over viewer racism

By Shanaaz Prince
31 March 2016

"We have been preaching tolerance for way to long and seems it has fallen on deaf ears."

Mbali Mlotshwa says she's shocked at the racist response to the relationship between her character Nandi and Bernard on 7de Laan.

This after a photo of Nandi and Bernard, played by Werner Coetser, locked in a passionate embrace received a series of racist slurs on Facebook.

It’s not the show’s first interracial relationship – the marriage of Felicity (Melanie Du Bois) and Herman (Deon Coetzee) claims that title – but the photo of Nandi and Bernard posted on the 7de Laan Facebook page caused a social media storm last week.

Some commenters said that they would no longer be watching the SABC 2 soapie, while a handful wrote they believed the relationship to be "against God's will".

This morning, Mbali expressed her heartache over the backlash.

“Going through comments on the image of the kiss between Bernard and Nandi on the 7de Laan FB page opened up my mind to where South Africa is," the 28-year-old said in a statement.

"The issue of racism needs to be explored and the conversation opened for something to be done in creating a prejudice free country. We have been preaching tolerance for way to long and seems it has fallen on deaf ears.

"The comments made were a stab at me and honestly made me realise that as much progress as we have made in our years of democracy, we still have a long way to go."

The beauty, who is married to DJ Black Coffee, said she has since been asked countless times if she would take legal action for what essentially amounts to hate speech.

"My answer is a resounding no because concentrating on my work fell as a number one priority on my list," the mom of two said.

"Adjusting to their style of shooting was a change for me and also one’s racial prejudices does not inform the perception of every member on set.

"Working on 7de Laan was a great learning curve and I have learnt a lot of great skills to take forth with me in the industry. Working with Bernard was absolutely great as he and all those in my story line made it comfortable for me.

"After all is said and done #RacismMustFall”

On the post there were also plenty of comments from fans who were supportive of the duo's relationship.

"All these racist comments are really sad. And the ones who are making them? Stop!" on fan wrote. "You are seriously embarrassing yourselves man. Shame."

Another added, "Big ups to 7de Laan! You're gaining more viewers with this storyline. Thatha #BerNandi."

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