PRESS CONFERENCE HOSTED ON BEHALF OF MARGARET VAN WYK
On 22nd September 2016, P. Revolution, a public relations firm situated in Durban, hosted an official press conference on behalf of Margaret van Wyk at Boston Media House, Umhlanga. The conference was attended by a number of journalists, PR personnel and photographers.
Prior to the month of July, Margaret van Wyk, a 46-year-old mother of three, from the small town of Schweizer-Reneke in North West was just an average housewife. Until one accidental tap on the ‘send’ button, in a group chat on WhatsApp turned her whole life infamously upside down.
Margaret van Wyk had unknowingly sent an intimate image of herself that was initially meant for her husband, Chris, to a group chat called “HokkieOuers”. After realising what had occurred, van Wyk immediately apologised to the members of the group and justified her embarrassing action. However, this was not the end. Three weeks later, the image was shared on another social media site (Twitter), where it went viral. The fact of the image being shared unbeknownst to van Wyk is an infringement to her rights to privacy and dignity. The image has since been censored on the internet, but the outbreak has caused a major damage to van Wyk’s reputation and credibility. Margaret van Wyk has stated that, this outbreak has resulted in her receiving harassments and threats daily. It has also caused a significant amount of damage to her family’s emotional state.
The community of Schweizer-Reneke have come out in support of Margaret van Wyk. However, van Wyk has avoided all public contact since the image went viral. Margaret van Wyk has not pressed charges and simply requests that the incident should fall away and be forgotten. She wishes to continue with the life she lead before, and also be allowed to forget the situation at hand.
The P. Revolution team concluded the conference after confidently answering the many questions that were hurled at them during the media interaction.
HI, MARGARET! FORGOT ABOUT YOUR PIC-LEAK YET?
Margaret van Wyk is one of those people who remind us about the disadvantages of living in a social media user generation. The consequences of incidentally sharing a photo of your below the belly woman-stuff on a WhatsApp group, and then having it go viral on Twitter; because someone in that group thought that, making a mockery of another person’s honest mistake is fun. There is a term for that so called mockery, it’s called, ‘Cyber Bullying’ and it is one serious offence!
Margaret has been prey to the harshness of cyber bullying. Not only has it affected her but, her family as well. One cannot imagine the humiliation that the van Wyk family was faced with. Margaret gained the support of her small town, and others around South Africa. People had their own opinions as they sympathised, judged and crucified poor Margaret on social media. But, with all that criticism, no one really knew the now infamous, Margaret van Wyk.
WHO IS MARGARET van WYK?
Margaret van Wyk is a 46-year-old housewife, and mother of three daughters. Margaret, together with her husband Chris van Wyk and their daughters, reside in the small town of Schweizer-Reneke in the North West province. She is very supportive of her family, and often attends her daughter’s sports events as well as helps her husband with the maintenance of their family farm. Margaret is a Christian and has a strong conviction in the power of Christ. Being a woman of God, she often guides members of her family church through tough decisions.
WHAT ABOUT THAT “HI CHRIS, AL GERY?” SIMULTANEOUS MESSAGE?
It is clear that after the photo of Margaret’s below the belly woman-stuff was accidently shared on the WhatsApp group, titled “HokkieOuers”, a solid reaction from one of the participants prompted Margaret to realise what she had done. She then tried to cover up the blunder by apologising to the ladies. The question remains of whether; Margaret had purposely sent the “Sorry everyone. Was meant for my husband.” and “Hi Chris, left yet?” messages via the group chat to cover up her blunder, or she honestly made a mistake, again with the latter message, whilst in embarrassment. Margaret was helpless anyway, the damage had already been done. The woman should not be blamed even if she did try the cover-up technique, she still remains a victim.
WHO WOULD MAKE A PUBLIC JOKE OUT OF A PRIVATE MATTER?
People are just simply nasty. A handful of people would actually take timeout before uploading a screenshot like this, to think about the effect it may have on the person’s life they are about to destroy. Margaret van Wyk’s choice to not press charges against her culprit, and her willingness to let it go so she can go on living her good old life, just makes her the better individual. Staying positive in a situation like this is really tough. Kudos to Margaret!
Margaret van Wyk remains optimistic after all that has occurred over the past few months. The country should get over her, and concentrate on issues that actually affect us all as a democracy, rather than taunt a wonderful woman for her one ‘revealing’ mistake!
By: Candice J. Singh