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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
S African DJ in Women's Day row
Unathi Nkayi (pic: www.yfm.co.za)
Unathi Nkayi's manager said she was fighting for respect as a human
One of South Africa's best-known DJs has been suspended from her job over an argument about whether she should work on 9 August, National Women's Day.

Unathi Nkayi is facing a disciplinary hearing by her employer, youth station YFM, and is accused of insubordination.

Her own manager insists that the dispute was an issue of human rights.

The radio station management says Ms Nkayi's contract requires her to work on public holidays and she had not sought permission to take that day off.

Bondo Ntuli, YFM's head of programming, says the dispute began after he announced an all-female DJ line-up to showcase women DJs' talent on 9 August.

Women march on 9 August

"We wanted to show that women are marginalised in this industry. We are the only station in South Africa that could put on a 24-hour line-up of women DJs," he said.

He said Ms Nkayi had responded by sending out e-mails to other staff objecting to the decision and asking "why it was necessary that the boys should get a day off".

Mr Ntuli added that Ms Nkayi could have got permission to take 9 August off if she had applied in time, but "she never spoke to me about being an activist and wanting to attend the march".

Respect

Ms Nkayi's manager, Lupi Ngcayisa, told The Star newspaper that the DJ was "just fighting to be respected as a human being".

"This is not disrespecting senior management. It's a human rights issue," he said.

The Youth League of the governing ANC party also came to Ms Nkayi's defence, expressing "shock and extreme disappointment" at her suspension.

"It is highly unacceptable that employees could be suspended for merely articulating a protest or disagreement," Youth League spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

South African National Women's Day commemorates a historic protest against apartheid by 20,000 women on 9 August 1956.

It has been remembered as a public holiday each year since democratic rule began in 1994.

This week, thousands of women turned out for a special 50th anniversary march in Pretoria.


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