The unfortunate rise of Moja Love

Moja Love doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel, it goes way below, writes Rofhiwa Maneta.

In February, Moja Love’s then channel head, Jacqui Setai, told the Mail & Guardian that her channel aimed “to bring back positivity to the broadcasting industry”.

Setai said a lot of Mzansi’s current programming was rooted in stereotypes and Moja Love was looking to break the mould with its suite of shows.

Having watched the channel’s unfortunate growth over the past 18 months, it’s clear that Setai was either deluded or she had completely miscalculated her intent.

Moja Love’s recipe is a mess of conflicting ambitions. A show such as No Excuse, Pay Papgeld bills itself as a “social responsibility programme” dedicated to getting deadbeat fathers to cough up maintenance, but, in reality, the programme is underpinned by sensationalism in which the chase of the supposed deadbeat father is the actual spectacle. That’s not taking into consideration that some of alleged defaulters have admitted to impregnating underage girls.

Is this even ethical?

Rea Tsotella, a Jerry Springer-inspired tabloid talk show, fares no better. It has repeatedly come under scrutiny for its lack of sympathy towards rape survivors and the lack of legal resolution of the cases aired. Instead, people’s traumas are aired and they are crudely interrogated to the delight of the studio audience.

Uyajola 9/9, one of the channel’s most popular offerings, is almost its own genre of bad television.

In the infamous second episode, a woman who sells atchar was accused of cheating on her partner, with the other man allegedly fathering her son.

The problem is, it could all be fake. Members of the family told Daily Sun that they were paid R20 000 to feature in the programme. There have also been episodes in which men were beaten by their partners, with little to no intervention from security officers in studio.

The whole thing is disgusting. Even more recent shows, such as After Tears, are as bad. The show, which documents funerals and “after tears” parties, has been slammed for its sensational depiction of township funerals.

There are spinning cars, alcohol galore, cheerful faces and little to show that a person with a family and loved ones actually died and is being buried. But you can only run on controversy for so long before you fall flat. FBK Millionaires, a show that followed forex trader Kgopotso “DJ Coach” Mmutlane, was canned four episodes in, after viewers claimed it was fake and the protagonist was a fraud.

No Excuse, Pay Papgeld has been dragged before the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA and fined R20 000 once, for violating a father’s right to privacy and dignity. Uyajola 9/9 was plagued with rumours that it was entirely fake. Isencane Lengane, which documented two teenagers’ journey to marriage, regularly drew ire on social media, with tweeps slamming it for normalising child marriage.

Moja Love doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel, it goes way below. For a channel meant to celebrate love, there’s a lot to hate about it.

I, for one, hope to see the back of it sooner rather than later.

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