Photo: @BurnaBoy / TW

Year in review: South Africa’s feistiest feuds of 2019

A year in Mzansi always comes with its fair share of bumps in the road. We’ve listed the most memorable feuds that left us in awe in 2019.


Photo: @BurnaBoy / TW

As much as we hope for a smooth and peaceful year, we can never quite get away without a feud or two.

There’s always one day, usually on Twitter, where someone will find themselves in hot water for one thing or another. Consider it war from that moment on. 

The rest of us South African’s can’t help ourselves – we’re warming the popcorn and getting comfortable behind our screens to get a good view of the drama. 

As the year 2019 comes to a close and we approach 2020 with much enthusiasm, we hope for a more harmonious year on the Twitter streets. Or do we? 

Here are the feuds of 2019 that we will never forget. 

Feud: Pearl Thusi and Bonnie Mbuli

South African actress, model and television host, Pearl Thusi has been involved in many rivalries but one of her famous Twitter wars was with another famous actress, Bonnie Mbuli, about colourism. 

According to zaleb.com, Pearl defended her career in June 2019 after Twitter users claimed she was only famous because she was a light-skinned black woman and had zero talent. The star defended herself by saying she had worked hard to get where she is today and has also lost roles because of the colour of her skin. 

“I’ve lost many jobs to dark-skinned women. Because I didn’t fit the mould of a real black woman for people. And other times because that woman was more beautiful or talented. Being light won’t get you there and keep you there, you need to work. And work harder to prove that point,” Pearl tweeted.

Bonnie Mbuli weighed in on the matter saying: “So when a light-skinned actress complains abt the one or two roles they didn’t get coz they weren’t dark enuf; I’m like but the part ur crying abt was being the slave who gets raped and beat up in the thing, ppl who look like u have never had to be in that position, to begin with (sic),” Bonnie wrote.

Pearl Thusi Image via: Twitter
Bonnie Mbuli Image via: Twitter

Feud: Kanthan Pillay and Samkele Maseko  

A renowned political journalist from eNCA, Samkele Maseko was showered with well-wishes by his colleagues when he announced his departure from the television news broadcaster on Tuesday 17 December 2019. 

However, it was later revealed that Maseko was forced out of his notice period and out of the building by the broadcaster’s head of news, Kanthan Pillay.

Pillay tweeted on Tuesday 17 December about “rats swimming toward a sinking ship #EarlyXmasGift”, which prompted Maseko to lambaste him and reveal the alleged circumstances under which he left eNCA.

“Do you want me to speak about how you threw me out of the eNCA building like a dog who had stolen something? How you came to my desk and said I should pack my shit and follow you to HR? You are heartless and unethical by denying some a chance to serve a notice period,” said Maseko. 

“The disrespect you have for an African black child is appalling, you have no sense of appreciation – none whatsoever. We are not here to play politics and settle political scores with the EFF like you are doing. Busy sensoring political talk and instructing things to be taken off air. Grow up and stop being bitter,” he added. 

Pillay expressed regret for his unruly tweets and the way he ushered Maseko out of the building, for resigning. 

“I hereby express my unreserved apology to all that were offended by my irresponsible and ill-conceived statement on Twitter, posted on Tuesday,” he said.

“I regret further and apologise unreservedly for the offence caused to all and specifically to Mr Maseko, the SABC and the management of eMedia; the action I took in haste and without thinking, which now places my Employer, my Colleagues, my Family and my Friends in a most embarrassing position,” added Pillay. 

eNCA fired Pillay, with immediate effect on Friday 20 December 2019 for mud-slinging Maseko. 

Kanthan Pillay Image via: Twitter
Samkele Maseko Image via: Twitter

AKA AND Burna Boy 

AKA and Burna Boy’s feud left many shocked. The pair who were once friends and even had a hit song together are now rivals, well that’s if their Twitter war in September is anything to go by. 

AKA, also known as Supa Mega and Burna Boy got into a heated exchange of words over reports of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. 

In a series of tweets, Burna Boy urged black foreigners living in South Africa to defend and protect themselves against xenophobic attackers. In a now-deleted tweet, he also told AKA to beef up his security, before giving him the middle finger.

He then promised to never set foot in South Africa again, until the government “wakes the f**k up and really performs a miracle.”

A month later, he was announced as part of the Africans Unite line-up to “unify all Africans and speak out against femicide.”

That was a big no-no and after a public outcry and demands that Burna Boy be removed from the headline list, the event organisers cancelled the concert in November.

AKA said South Africa took Burna Boy in “before he reached these levels” and challenged the star to prove he is an “African giant” by apologising.

“Ek se… Burna Boy. All we want is an apology. We know South Africa is not perfect, but we took you in as our own before you reached these levels. You say you are an AFRICAN GIANT, prove it,” he wrote.

AKA said he was willing to swallow his pride and asked if Burna Boy was willing to do the same, however, he didn’t reply. 

AKA Image via: Twitter
Burna Boy Image via: Twitter

Phat Joe and Anele Mdoda

In August, TV and radio personality Phat Joe threw shade Anele Mdoda’s way after she was announced as part of the judging panel for Miss SA 2019. Anele is a talk show host. 

According to TimesLive, Phat Joe came under fire and initiated a long-lasting feud after he questioned Anele’s inclusion on the panel and alluded to her being on it to “make up the numbers.”

This didn’t sit well with Anele who didn’t hold back, calling the controversial radio host “washed out.”

In a now-deleted tweet, Anele said, “I am not even done. I have all day and all the data. He must not try me. Mister makes TV productions wait for three hours whilst he walks offset. Where is his dating show? Why is he not on it? Angazondi nyela mna. Going at gays because they are strong enough to live their truth.”

In October, Anele made a comment that American singer Kelly Rowland does not look good without makeup. It was at that point that Twitter in South Africa and in America came after her, guns blazing.

One person, that couldn’t help but join in on the shade was, of course, Phat Joe saying: “have you ever been criticised by someone below your level?”

Will the two ever be on good terms after that? We doubt it. 

Phat Joe Image via: Twitter
Anele Mdoda Image via: Twitter