Idols SA judge Unathi Nkayi has apologized for her comments about Xhosa people being “tired of holding up the nation”, telling her followers that she was wrong and shouldn't have made the joke.
Unathi faced the Twitter firing squad on Sunday, after she made the comments on live TV.
Congratulating contestant Luyolo Yiba on his stellar performance on the show, Unathi said: “On behalf of the Xhosa people, we are tired of holding up the nation.”
She then named several achievements by SA icons, including actors John Kani and Atandwa Kani, Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and herself, before including Luyolo on the list.
“We are finally happy that we have someone from the Eastern Cape in the finale,” she added.
Her comments went viral, with many accusing her of tribalism and “dividing the country”.
Others threatened to boycott the show if Unathi did not apologise.
She initially responded on Instagram to a fan, saying: “I hear you sthandwa. I was accused of favouring Sneziey too. Comes with the job. Just vote Qha,” she wrote.
However, as her name shot up the Twitter trends list, Unathi took to the social media platform to explain that she was simply trying to carry on a joke that had been “passed around” lately.
“It saddens me that I have broken so many hearts with what I said tonight. What I saw was a beautiful joke being passed around this past week by so many South Africans not necessarily Xhosa and wanted to share.”
She said she was wrong to do so and apologised to those who were offended.
Meanwhile, social media was filled with reactions.
"I hear you sthandwa" like really?
You may have just ruined someone's future and all you say is "I hear you"….No dear,you need to own up now. #IdolsSA #Luyolo #unathi #Sneizey pic.twitter.com/u0TGftppPS
— Filwe❤ (@Fifsiza) November 10, 2019
"IF" you hurt our feeling? @Unathi_Africa I love you but this apology is not accepted. You are aware that you broke our heart, then you turn around and say "IF" you hurt our feelings. I know you can do better sisi. #unathi #IdolsSA pic.twitter.com/irc9hvOd18
— Khothatso Melika Mohapi (@melika_mohapi) November 10, 2019
— Buhle Ndwandwe (@BuhleNdwandwe) November 10, 2019