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Cape Town Jazz Fest removes Sjava from lineup. Celebrity scandals’ impact on brand image

CFIJF has removed Sjava from the 2020 line up amid rape allegations by a fellow female artist, Lady Zamar. As with many celeb scandal before this, the question on many people's lips is; should companies associated with the Sjava brand abandon him or stay the course? Check expert opinions below


Every top marketer, brand manager and companies thereof associated with some of the world’s biggest stars – think R Kelly, Tiger Woods, Harvey Weinstein and Mzansi’s own Mampintsha – has had a hard time one way or the other having to deal with a particular scandal that engulf their most priced endorsers, and how to mitigate the damage that comes with it.

As experience has taught us, companies suffer greatly when celebrity associates get embroiled in a scandal.

Likewise, we’ve also learnt that the worst thing that could happen is when the affected firm chooses to make no public statement, and take no action, exactly the route that most follow.

Flip the coin, and engage with the situation authentically. Not only will this reduce the uncertainty, negative perceptions and help stabilize the public outcry, but more likely to bring positive returns to the company involved.

“These incidents can be an opportunity,” reads an article on hrb.com. “If a firm shows an appropriate response to the misbehavior, it can gain market value.”

Research by University of Connecticut and Free University of Berlin proved this right, and found that companies which fail to respond, show sound judgement – whether they chose to continue or suspend their relationships with their celebrity endorser – found themselves getting the short end of the stick.

In the same breath, Future Kings, a mentorship initiative aimed at training teenage boys to responsible manhood, warmly welcomed the decision by the organisers of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival to remove musician Sjava from the line up for this year’s event later this month. 

“It is important to note that Sjava is innocent until proven guilty. Like all South Africans he deserves his day in court,” read the statement in part. 

“Sexual violence against women and children is too serious a matter to leave to the courts alone. Such an allegation necessitates that Sjava be removed from all platforms until he is proven innocent. Putting him on stage and enriching him economically, would be spitting in the face of the work done to reverse gender-based violence and toxic masculinity.”

Rams Mabote, chief volunteer officer at Future Kings also condemns the behavior demonstrated by some the Sjava’s fans “who have gone out on a tirade to attack, insult and even threaten Lady Zamar for laying a charge of rape.

“This is an unfortunate indicator of how sexual violence is still trivialised in South Africa,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sjava released a statement Tuesday, telling his side of the story. Read it here.

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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