Independent On-Line, 06 December 2002, I have parents, says TV's 'Aids orphan'

A child portrayed as an orphan in an SABC documentary does have parents, The Star can reveal.

The documentary, Shouting Silence, was screened on SABC 3's Expressions on Sunday. It was made for the SABC by filmmaker Xoliswa Sithole of Naya Naya Productions.

According to the documentary, filmed at an informal settlement in Tembisa on the
East Rand , Molouwa was orphaned when her mother died from an Aids-related complication.

It further said she had then run away from home as she was being abused by her
father, and was left sleeping on the streets and begging for food.

A viewer who was so moved that she wanted to adopt the girl was told by her principal, Kabelo Motshapi, that Molouwa did, in fact, have parents.

On Thursday Molouwa, with her mother Matsheko Secheka at her side, said she was introduced to Sithole by a neighbour Anna Thamai, and was paid R250 to pose for the camera.

"I am angry that I was shown to have died in the documentary and that my husband has been portrayed as a child abuser," said Mrs Secheka.

Her husband Paulos Secheka works in Rustenburg.

"I was not consulted," added Mrs Secheka, "and was told by my neighbour that my daughter was acting in a drama."

Approached for comment Sithole accused The Star of "harassing" her. She said she did not have to justify herself to a newspaper, but insisted Molouwa was orphaned.

SABC 3 commissioning editor Eddie Manzingana said the matter would be investigated.

Molouwa said children at her school are avoiding her as they believe she is HIV positive.

On Thursday the girl's neighbour Thamai initially claimed to be Molouwa's legal guardian.

She said she believed the filmmaker was making a drama for overseas, not a documentary.