7de Laan‘s Bernard and Nandi have become the soapie’s first interracial couple.
Mbali recently joined the show, playing the role of Nandi, her parents’ beloved silver-spoon daughter who has a keen interest in fashion and photography. She initially dates S’fiso but finds herself falling in love with his best friend and flatmate, Bernard. The chemistry between the two is swept under the carpet until the inevitable happens: they kiss.
While Mbali expected a racist backlash from viewers for this, she was more stunned about the slurs she received on set.
The slurs were sparked on social media when a picture of characters Nandi and Bernard kissing was posted on the soapie’s Facebook page.
Mbali took to Instagram on Sunday to say: “In the past year I started shooting @real7delaan and I agreed to doing because of the story behind my character. Interracial relationships. Working there was not easy and finding my footing was the most difficult but I took it on with the utmost humility, Since my character journey was the most important thing. Bernard and Nandi recieved some racist slurs from there on screen debut this past week,(production expected it and so did I and change was the point ) but the crazy thing is racial slurs happened on set with people I thought were educated and open minded. I say #racismMustfall open this conversation. I’m all for it being a crime #ImbrownAndProud thank you Bernard for being the perfect gentleman throughout. #simplylive #simplylove #simplyenhle?? skin colour is for the blind… And ignorant”
Not all 7de Laan viewers are opposed to the couple, however. Many fans have even dubbed them Bernandi, a nickname similar to those given to other power couples such as Brangelina, Bennifer and Kimye.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told the Independent Online that the broadcaster was not aware of the slurs, and is strongly against racism: “We are a public broadcast services provider so we can’t be aligned with anything (that has) to do with racism.”