The South African Music Awards issues an apology for ‘killing’ Innocent Ximba amid legal threats

Innocent Ximba. Picture: Twitter

Innocent Ximba. Picture: Twitter

Published Sep 2, 2022


The South African Music Awards (SAMAs) have issued an apology to Joburg-born author and business coach Innocent Ximba, whose picture was used erroneously in the tribute segment during the live broadcast of the awards ceremony this past weekend.

His name and photograph were used in the “Fallen Stars” part of the show, where musicians who have died in the past year were honoured.

In the statement issued on their official Facebook page, the SAMAs acknowledged the mistake, citing that the tribute was aimed at Mkhombeni Innocent Ximba.

“We extend our humble apologies to Innocent Ximba whose image was used as part of a tribute to stars that have passed on at this weekend's SAMA28 live broadcast on SABC1,” read the SAMAs statement.

“It has been brought to our attention that while the tribute was aimed for Mkhombeni Innocent Ximba who was born in Nquthu, a photo of a man named Innocent Ximba from Ekurhuleni was used by mistake.”

In the statement, the SAMA labelled the blunder a “human error” that occurred when the images were sourced on the internet.

“Once again, we apologise unreservedly to Innocent Ximba for the usage of his image and the inconvenience, distress or humiliation he and his family may have suffered.”

Taking to social media this week, Ximba released a statement, pleading with South Africans to help him raise funds in order to seek legal action against the SAMAs.

“@TheSAMAs used my name and picture claiming that I died in 2021. I am tired of the harassment I am getting because of this. Please#HelpInnocentXimba,” expressed Ximba.

In his statement, Ximba further stated that due to the error, he suffered a lot of emotional stress.

“On the 27th of August 2022, the South African Music Wards broadcast their 28th edition of the awards ceremony on a national platform SABC 1. As part of their show, they had a segment where they gave a tribute to ‘fallen stars’ - people who were in the music industry that are now deceased.

“The name, surname as well as a picture of Mr Innocent Ximba (the data subject as per POPI Act) was also broadcast on the tribute slot.”

He added that he was shocked to receive calls from worried family members and friends asking him about the incident.

“Mr Innocent Ximba knew nothing about the tribute and he has never had any contact with any representative from the South African Music Awards concerning the use of his personal information, therefore he did not give consent for his personal information and picture to be used by the South African Music Awards.”

In the statement, Ximba confirmed that he was living with multiple mental illnesses and that the harassment has triggered “suicidal thoughts and emotions”.

“In the black community, accusations of ghosts and witchcraft are taken seriously and persons accused of such are killed by the community. Mr Ximba fears for his life since he has since moved from his family home to seek shelter elsewhere,” further stated the statement.

IOL Entertainment contacted Ximba, who referred us to his attorney Lesego Mothowamodimo of Mothowamodimo Attorneys Inc.

“What I can tell you is that we have consulted,” commented Mothowamodimo.

“And that’s all I’m able to tell you right now. If you call me next week, it will be a different story.”