X Factor: Is it fair for Gamu Nhengu to be deported?

You can’t have missed the massive uproar this week as Gamu Nhengu – a hot favourite to win this year’s X Factor – got dropped from the series.

Cheryl Cole broke the news to her on the show, but many people believe that Cheryl was told who to put through, partly due to narrative that favoured Katie Waissel and Cher Lloyd, and partly because she’d been out of the loop of auditions due to her illness with malaria.

As you all know, our sister site, Unreality TV, is one of the largest hubs for X Factor news and gossip in the UK. I can tell you from the calibre of comments left that for every comment that accused Cheryl Cole of being racist in her decision, there was an alternative comment about Gamu deserving to be kicked out of the country. It’s interesting that many viewers see Gamu’s story as a racism/immigration issue.

Lisa reported yesterday on stories about Gamu and her family facing deportation. In that article, there are comments from Border Control and from production sources that claim Gamu had to be dropped because her visa was a grey area.

The applications made by Ms Ngazana and her family were considered in line with the published immigration rules. Ms Ngazana’s application was refused as it did not meet all of the conditions for approval. Skilled workers are not allowed recourse to public funds. Her family, who had applied as her dependants, were therefore also refused.

Where people are found to have no right to remain in the UK we expect them to leave voluntarily.

This all relates to the fact that Gamu’s mother, Nokutula is a trained nurse and not eligible for assistance. It seems the family claimed in the region of £16,000 in benefits that they weren’t entitled to. I’ve got a few points to make here:

  1. No-one’s complaining about the clerical error that allowed benefit to be paid in the first place.
  2. I feel sorry for the girl, because she went on X Factor hoping to pursue a dream of becoming a singer, but ended up drawing attention to her family. And think of the devastation this causes to the family before you shout about my bleeding heart. Put yourself in their shoes. It must be terrifying to be facing deportation.
  3. Would the family have ended up in this situation if the X Factor hadn’t spun her story as an immigration fairytale – we came to Britain for a chance of a better life? Isn’t it ironic that the tabloid scrutiny on the show ended up in a nightmare for that family?
  4. I would argue that there should be some degree of clemency for the family as well. When a family receives an overpayment of benefits, they’re given the opportunity to repay it, aren’t they? Surely they should be given the chance to repay the amount and remain in the country?

I’m not saying this as a fan of Gamu’s singing. I personally didn’t think that she had the right look and sound to be a popstar. Not from the Simon Cowell school of pop, anyway. That said, my wife has taken to singing “the Gamu version” of Walking on Sunshine around the house, so she’s made some impact.

Incidentally, there’s no chance of Gamu returning to X Factor this year. However, sources with the show say that if she can resolve her visa issues, they’d be happy for her to return next time.

(This post is a more detailed version of the comment I left on our Was Gamu Nhengu Robbed? post.)

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  1. slaneyvalley

    I think it is a crying shame that Gamu is not allowed to stay in UK as she has such a talent. She could make a lot of money and therefore contribute to the country that gave her sanctuary. I recall, some years ago, a young girl athlete by the name of Zola Bud. Zola was a 17 year old South African who, in 1984, broke the Womens 5000 Metre World Record. This was not acknowledged by the IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation) because of South Africa’s apartheid policy.

    The Daily Mail, at the time, encouraged Zola’s father to apply for British Citizenship, albiet on the grounds that her grandfather was British. Her citizenship was granted at very short notice even though it aroused a lot of political controversy, and Zola went on to represent Great Britain in the 1984 Olympics. I remember it very well as she ran barefoot knocking over America’s Mary Decker who was favourite to win.

    I find it such a pity that the Daily Mail and other media don’t show the same compassion for Gamu, but then she has not got any relatives who are British. Gamu and her family came to UK for a better life from Zimbabwe, a country run by a terrible dictator, Robert Mugabe and who the British government profess to dislike. There are (and can be) exceptional circumstance for those applying for asylum to stay in UK and I believe Gamu’s family to be one of them. I’m sure, in time, that they would give back to the country (by way of earnings and paying tax’s) what the country has offered them – asylum, freedom and a chance for a better future.

  2. Ageing tart

    The benefits system in Britain does need a shake up. Refugees from countries that are war torn get help here in Britain. Free housing, free electricity and Gas, free phone, Free transport, 35 pounds a week plus food vouchers for certain stores. All in the package is worth more to a refugee than unemployment benefit is to an indiginous Brit. Free Furniture Package. No poll tac to pay.

    At the same time a refugee is not allowed to work for two years in a ful time job. However they can do voluntary jobs, part time jobs, newspaper round, sell the big issue etc. Many refugees busk for extra money.

    A British person in receipt of jobseekers does not get extras to cover Gas Electric landline phone Free bus pass, food vouchers for certain stores. All bills have to come out of what benefit they get.

    The benefit office class all overpayments as fraud. Even if they have formerly decided to pay them.

    We only need to look at what the tax office is trying to do at the moment to realise that these faceless beaurocrats make mistakes then expect to recover them.

    16k sounds a lot but this could be including money for rent and poll tax. We don’t know the full story here or how many adults were involved. One foreign national nurses salary from a nurse bank would be insufficient income to support a family daily living costs.


    Ageing tart


  3. Ageing tart

    Whoever leaked the story is worrying, this is a breach of the data protection act.

    All DWP information is supposed to be confidential so how did something like this hit the press.


    Ageing tart

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