We’ve all been there: You come across a new word, you start using it with hubris, only to be told you’ve got it wrong. However, we aren’t all elected ministers in government – unlike Lindiwe Zulu. The head of Social Development has suffered an embarrassing moment during a live TV interview on Tuesday – when she talked us through the meaning of ‘filicide’.

The fight against GBV

The ANC has launched its 16 Days of Activism campaign, which aims to help tackle the scourge of gender-based violence. On Monday, Cyril Ramaphosa talked-up the project, saying he wants to help ‘bring sexism to an end’ in South Africa.

Lindiwe Zulu appeared on Newzroom Afrika to promote this activist-driven charge – but the jury is out on how much her appearance will really help with the campaign. Here’s what the politician said about filicide:

Watch: Lindiwe Zulu gets her words mixed up

“Today I learned a new word, it’s ‘filicide’. It’s the killing of women and girls. It’s got a name. I didn’t know it had a name.”

Lindiwe Zulu

For the benefit of Lindiwe Zulu… What is filicide?

That’s… not… what filicide means. Filicide is the act of killing one’s son or daughter. It is a specific term given to parents who murder their children, and does not fit the broader definition of gender-based violence, as it affects – and is perpetrated by – both sexes. It’s great that the ANC representative has broadened her horizons – but she seems to have fallen short.

It’s possible that Lindiwe Zulu was thinking of the word ‘femicide’, which does define the murder of women and girls only. However, the minister’s confidence to share a new word in her vocabulary seems to be spectacularly misplaced.

Even Julius Malema was on hand to react to Zulu’s ‘foot-in-mouth’ moment:

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Presh JM Reporter

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