'Our names are not a joke' - Unathi Nkayi slams JP Smith for 'joke'
‘And to anyone who is not black who’s going to tell us how people mispronounce their names too, don’t. I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to JP Smith’
Media personality Unathi Nkayi has joined scores of people on social media expressing outrage over Cape Town mayoral committee member JP Smith’s blatant disregard of the pronunciation of event host Abongile Nzelenzele’s surname.
TimesLIVE reported about a video of Smith “refusing” to pronounce Nzelenzele’s surname because it has “too many vowels too awkwardly placed” going viral on social media and has triggering wide-ranging public condemnation and accusations of racism.
Along with many angry South Africans, Unathi slammed Smith and made a point to remind him that African names and their importance is nothing to joke about.
“JP Smith, our names are not a joke. And unlike our ancestors, we will make you say them properly and respectfully so.
“Gather your dignity, love yourself and put just a lil’ effort into pronouncing our names. And to anyone who is not black who’s going to come and tell us about how people mispronounce their names too, don’t. I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to JP Smith. Happy heritage month SA,” Unathi wrote.
On her Instagram, the Kaya FM personality also shared a clip from her radio broadcast when she was helping to introduce South Africans to the new names of places in the Eastern Cape.
Listen to the lip below:
Smith told TimesLIVE there was no ill intent behind the joke. He said he was aware of the video snippet making the rounds on social media and the “humorous” comments around it.
“I have already spoken to Abongile. He told me there was a whole range of humorous remarks made by him and others at the start of it, that he took no offence and didn’t see anything offensive in the comment,” said Smith.