Entertainment / Celebs And Viral

Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
23 Oct 2021
6:08 pm

Nando’s terminates sponsorship of Gareth Cliff’s show

Kaunda Selisho

After being lambasted for their lukewarm response to Gareth Cliff's dismissal of Mudzuli Rakhivhane, Nando's has finally taken a stance.

Gareth Cliff says that racism is at the bottom of South Africans' list of priorities. Picture: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath

Just days after he dismissed social activist Mudzuli Rakhivhane’s experience of racism as ‘anecdotal and unimportant,’ broadcaster Gareth Cliff has lost Nando’s as a sponsor. 

The global restaurant chain issued a statement on Saturday announcing and explaining its decision. The brand began by reiterating their support for “healthy debate” and the right to freedom of speech.

“There are many instances in which Nando’s has not agreed with the opinions of both the guests and presenters of Cliff Central, but we have upheld their right to express those views as a core component of a healthy constitutional democracy.”

“In the case of The Burning Platform episode aired on 21 October 2021, Nando’s is of the view that Gareth Cliff failed to create an environment where free speech was possible by talking over Mudzuli Rakhivhane and dismissing her view while not allowing her to adequately express it.”

As such, Nando’s announced their decision to terminated their sponsorship of the 44-year-old’s show, citing his conduct as “highly disappointing” and “at odds” with the reasons that the brand originally entered into the sponsorship agreement for. 

This is after a five-year relationship with Gareth and Cliff Central.

This statement comes after the brand announced its decision to take the matter under review.

“We know that you know what happened in the exchange between the panelists on The Burning Platform on 21st October 2021. We are a proudly South African brand that takes the right to freedom of speech very seriously. We do not, and will never, invalidate anyone’s experiences or condone racism in any form. We are taking this serious matter under review,” tweeted Nando’s.

What did Gareth Cliff say to Mudzuli Rakhivhane?

Rakhivhane, DA leader John Steenhuisen and Cliff were debating the party’s controversial election posters in Phoenix.

The unsanctioned posters were put up in the KwaZulu-Natal region earlier this month, and read:  “The ANC called you racists” and “The DA calls you heroes”.

They were eventually taken down. 

ALSO READ: DA backs down on controversial election posters in Phoenix

In the debate on the platform previously sponsored by Nando’s, Cliff said the Institute of Race Relations had shown “endless reports of people who say that racism is at the bottom of their list of priorities.”.

When Rakhivhane replied by saying “they obviously don’t experience the type of racism I experience on a daily basis”, Cliff said: “Your personal experience is completely anecdotal and unimportant to all of us, sorry.”

“I’m not interested in identity politics at all. Nobody is, they’re only interested in themselves,” Cliff added.

Mudzuli Rakhivhane responds

Speaking on Newzroom Afrika on Saturday afternoon, Rakhivhane described her experience with Cliff as “an ordinary day for a black woman in South Africa.” 

She went on to state her belief that DA leader John Steenhuisen “fully agrees” with what Cliff had to say based on his facial expressions during Cliff’s tirade.