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Tipps’ last laugh

Thapelo Olopeng

Shaya gets pimped down

Pimp My Ride is an American television series produced by MTV and hosted by rapper, Xzibit. The show begins with a participant showing his or her vehicle, and convincing MTV that it needs to be “pimped”.

Xzibit will then examine the car and take it to a custom body shop, where it’ll be custom ‘pimp’ tailored to the personalities and interests of the owner.

The Oxford dictionary defines a pimp as a man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking a percentage of their earnings in return.

It further defines it to mean making something more showy or impressive, e.g. “He pimped up the car with spoilers and twin-spoke 18-inch alloys.”

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In the matter between former Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, and The Voice, Court of Appeal Justice, Lakhvinder Singh Walia, relies on the first definition to award damages to the former minister who was suing The Voice for P300 000.

Olopeng slapped the newspaper with a suit following an article published on the 14th September, 2018 on Chilling’Out headlined ‘Minister Pimp’.

Shaya wrote, “MYSEC Thapelo Olopeng, was one envied man at a gig over the weekend. Olopeng walked into the VIP section fashionably late in the company of three young girls, one of them – Shaya has been told – is the minister’s daughter. DJ Tipps walked hand in hand with these colourful hotties, attracting the glaring eyes of those who had already had one too many. Dj Tipps, there’s a close friend of mine who desperately wants the numbers of the stunner in yellow pants, e-mail it to me my brother.”

In his suit, Olopeng contended that the word pimp had the effect of lowering him in the estimation of reasonable persons of ordinary intelligence or right thinking members of the public generally.

He felt the word imputed that he was irresponsible, culturally immoral, promiscuous, adulterous and involved in criminal conduct by controlling prostitutes and living off their money.

In their counter-arguments, The Voice contends that the word ‘pimp’ as used in the article should not be understood in the traditional dictionary meaning of a pimp, but was used colloquially to refer to a man of enviable means who tends to live a lavish lifestyle.

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They argued that the article was published in a section that targeted youth hence the use of the youthful lingo appropriate for the column, and that language evolves and some words with time take new meaning.

So, what exactly pops into one’s mind when the word pimp is used?

Gilbert Seagile of Gilbert Promotions, popularly known as PP Wa Pimp, describes it as name derived from the Hip Hop culture.

“Being a pimp means I’m a man of swag, a ladies’ man envied by many people,” he said.

“Being referred to as a pimp clearly tells you that I’m from a Hip Hop culture, a reputation I earned during my days as an underground MC,” said Seagile.
Legendary Thapelo Maleka of MC Maswe fame believes a pimp is a snitch.

“Ke mpimpi (it’s a snitch)” he said.

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Kasane-based rapper, Tay Boz, knows pimps as people who earns money through the sale of prostitutes.

“But, in a Hip Hop culture, or anywhere in the streets, pimping means adding value to something, either a car or one’s appearance,” he said.

In his ruling, Justice Walia stated that the use of the word pimp was defamatory, in that they cast aspersions on his character, implying that he was promiscuous, adulterous, culturally immoral, looking for customers for the young ladies he was in the company of.

“It opened him to ridicule and, in my view, an award of P100 000 is appropriate,” said Justice Walia.

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