Sponsors pull out of Sebenza Women Awards following Kini Shandu controversy

Kini Shandu, co-founder of Sebenza Women Awards. Picture: Instagram.

Kini Shandu, co-founder of Sebenza Women Awards. Picture: Instagram.

Published Jan 12, 2024


It looks like Kininonke “Kini” Shandu is going to need more than prayer to save him and his organisation from the mess he’s created.

The “Umkhokha: The Course” actor, also the co-founder of Sebenza Women Awards, shot himself in the foot by speaking ill of women.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, Shandu said women who had children out of wedlock shame to their parents.

Since then, several women have come forward, sharing their horrible experiences with him.

According to freelance journalist Zamanteyi Nteyi, Sebenza Women Awards has lost major sponsors, SMG (BMW) Umhlanga and Oceans Mall.

This comes after Shandu's misogynistic comments on Facebook.

“We’ve been sponsoring these awards for the past five years, and they’ve been successful. This is Kini’s brainchild, he had a good proposal, and we liked it.

“The motor industry is male-dominated so driving these influential women to and from the event was an honour to us,” said the corporate sales manager at BMW Umhlanga, Mongezi Tembe.

“However, under these circumstances, we cannot be associated with someone or a brand that dehumanizes women or anyone. We subscribe to the constitution of the Republic, and we have a duty to uplift and protect women and children.

“We’ll still support any proposal that empowers women, but not with Mr Shandu.”

Oceans Mall has also distanced itself from the Sebenza Women Awards.

“Radisson Blu is no way affiliated with Sebenza Women’s Awards. The CEO of Oceans Mall, Brian Mpono, contributed as a guest speaker and as part of a mutually beneficial arrangement,” said the mall’s marketing manager, Fara Hamid.

Additionally, KwaZulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said her office is investigating the matter and strongly condemns the acts of Shandu.

“Dube-Ncube has instructed the Office on the Status of Women in the Office of the Premier to look into the correspondence and the allegations contained therein.

“Critical to this process will be an engagement with the drafters of the correspondence and reaching out to those implicated in the correspondence to get a fuller picture.

“The Premier strongly condemns acts of violence against women and vulnerable groups, irrespective of whether these manifest themselves through physical contact or through general impugnment of the dignity of women, as is alleged in this instance.”

Shandu has yet to respond to the controversy. Reports indicate he is away for religious purposes.