UPDATE | DStv on Love Island SA backlash: 'We pride ourselves in diversity'

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A scene in Love Island SA.
A scene in Love Island SA.
Photo: Twitter/LoveIsland_SA
  • Love Island South Africa debuted on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sunday evening.
  • Hosted by Leandie du Randt, the show introduced the first 10 Islanders who will search for true love and try to win the R1 million prize money.
  • The show has come under fire by viewers for its shocking lack of diversity.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 2 March - 07:10

In a statement to Channel24, a spokesperson for DStv said: "We pride ourselves in reflecting diversity and inclusion for all our shows, including Love Island. The many channels and thousands of program hours we produce are testament to this.

"Viewers can be assured that this will become more apparent in future episodes of Love Island SA. We hope viewers will keep watching to enjoy the new stars of the show who will be arriving over the next few days."

An apology was also issued for the sound, lighting and general technical glitches in the premiere episode.

"We understand viewers' disappointment in relation to the production quality and would like to apologise for the technical issues experienced yesterday [Sunday] and are working really hard to resolve them."

Love Island South Africa is trending online for the show's shocking lack of diversity.

The first episode of the local version of the reality dating competition debuted on Sunday evening with a 90-minute episode on M-Net (DStv 101).

Hosted by Leandie du Randt, the show introduced the first 10 Islanders who will search for true love and try to win the R1 million prize money.

During the episode, the production came under fire as viewers quickly pointed out that in a country as diverse as South Africa, there were only two black contestants on the show and two coloured contestants compared to six white contestants.

The show's lack of diversity in its casting also made international headlines with the Metro in the UK reporting: "Love Island South Africa criticised over predominantly white cast and one Black female contestant" and CNN reporting: "Love Island South Africa cast is announced - with only 3 Black contestants."

Independent TV critic Thinus Ferreira in his review of the newly launched reality show called it a "shockingly embarrassing debut as the worst-ever local TV production in the 35 years of M-Net (DStv 101) by far".

"The long-awaited debut episode of Love Island South Africa on M-Net was atrocious and unacceptable," he added as he listed all the technical issues that also plagued the show's premiere including sound and lighting problems.

Reacting on Twitter, a user said: "How does @loveislandsa_only have two black people on the show when South Africa is 80% black? Are you actually mad? The lack of diversity is absolutely astonishing. Your age mates are doing much better. Correct yourself. #LoveIslandSA" 

Another user said: "How are you really going to have just two black folks in your cast in a whole South Africa?? #LoveIslandSA"

Actor Siv Ngesi retweeted the picture of the cast with the caption: "This is Africa!"

Note: This article was updated to reflect the latest information available.

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