'We, as the interviewees, were briefed to put the finalist through their paces and that’s exactly what I did with Zozi.'
Basetsana Kumalo has been trending on social media regarding comments she made towards newly-crowned Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi during her time on “Presenter Search on 3” in 2018.
The clip, which has been taken out of context and does not represent the full interview fairly, shows Basetsana testing Zozibini during an Afternoon Express interview which has been set up to test the presenting skills of the contestants on the reality show.
The series, which sees contestants being tested in a variety of challenges in the hopes of finding new talent for SABC 3’s flagship shows “Expresso” and “Afternoon Express”, has proven successful in finding talented presenters like Jonathan Boynton-Lee, Simba Mhere, Zoe Brown, Dr Fezile Mkhize, Thabiso Makhubela, Harmony Katulondi, Palesa Temba and newly-crowned winners Kuhle Adams and Jamie-Lee Domburg.
Now, Basetsana is setting the record straight and released a statement regarding the matter.
“I am very disappointed by the response my interview with Zozibini Tunzi on ‘Afternoon Express’ has been generating. During the interview, I was tasked with pushing the ‘Presenter Search on 3’ contestants out of their comfort zone, as is the nature of the show and see how quickly they think on their feet and think when they’re under pressure.
“We, as the interviewees, were briefed to put the finalist through their paces and that’s exactly what I did with Zozi.
Signing up to be part of the reality show, the hopefuls know that they are going to be pushed and challenged and essentially grow into seasoned presenters because of the experience. ‘Presenter Search on 3’ is about giving people an opportunity but it is a competition and it is designed to really test the finalists to fully prepare them for their new roles in the industry.”
Basetsana adds that “I mentor young people and have done so for over two decades. I have seen many rise to their fullest potential in different industries. Seeing Zozibini wear the well-deserved Miss Universe crown is a moment we all should be celebrating and applauding.
“South Africa is on the world stage once again with the Rugby World and now this African woman has brought immense pride to not only to South Africa, but the continent as a whole. This is what we should be focusing our collective energies on – not taking history out of context.
“Zozi has redefined the ideals of beauty in pageantry, has broken the mould and re-written history. She has affirmed that black children’s dreams are valid. I am a huge supporter of Zozi and have nothing but praise for the woman she is and all she has achieved. It would be wonderful if as a country we could allow her to shine instead of trying to fuel negative stories. We have so much to be positive about with all the incredible achievements of young role models in our country.”
Other media personalities, who have worked on the show as well as fellow finalists from the show’s same season, have come forward strongly defending Bassie, the person she is, how she grows and nurtures talent and how she builds and supports other women in the industry.
DJ Fresh, who was a judge on the season, says “As a former Presenter Search on 3 judge, I can tell you for free that the contestants are deliberately put through their paces with such difficult interviews to better prepare them when they have a gig. There is nothing wrong with the way Bassie acted in the interview because it was all part of the test.”
Meanwhile, Expresso presenter Thabiso Makhubela, who won this series of ‘Presenter Search on 3’, says “Having been in the same room, on the same search during ‘Presenter Search on 3’ challenge and knowing what the brief for that was, I’m shocked we’re even here. This Bassie slander is unnecessary and totally uncalled for.”